ISMAR - Instituto di Scienze Marine | EMBRC

ISMAR - Instituto di Scienze Marine

Institute of Marine Science – National Research Council (CNR-ISMAR)


The Institute of Marine Science (ISMAR) is part of the National Research Council of Italy (CNR), the largest research body of the Country, distributed all over the territory through a network of Institutes. ISMAR is among the leading marine research institutions in Italy. With its headquarter in Venice and six regional sections spread across the Italian peninsula, it hosts a staff of 180 marine scientists with permanent position, and 60 people in training (PhD students, postdoctoral).

Mission and research:

Researchers at ISMAR conduct studies in Mediterranean, oceanic and polar regions on a wide range of topics dealing with biogeochemical cycles and ocean productivity, habitat mapping and marine ecology, marine pollution and human impacts on coastal and lagoon ecosystems, fisheries, microbial ecology, physical oceanography and modeling, natural processes and hazards.

Marine facilities:

A number of small research vessels for coastal sampling and SCUBA diving, access to large oceanographic research vessels granting access to the deep sea and several experimental stations. Fixed point observatories, among which the oceanographic tower “Acqua Alta” (an offshore facility equipped with autonomous instrumentation and laboratories, that can accommodate scientists at sea for days), the PALOMA platform, and meteo-oceanographic buoys. Equipment for collecting water and sediment samples across a range of marine habitats (grab samplers, box-corers, multiparametric probes, phytoplankon and zooplankton nets) is available.

Laboratories and Platforms:

Modern laboratories and facilities, including aquaria and mesocosms system, are available for research on marine ecology, biogeochemistry, ecotoxicology, molecular biology, metagenomics and bioinformatics. A number of microscopes is available (epifluorescence with image analysis, stereo, light, inverted, Custom build Atomic Force Microscope, SEM). CNR-ISMAR has its own library network, and an IT service connected with those of the other CNR’s Institutes.

Main marine models:

CNR-ISMAR has experience in maintaining and performing research on the following model organisms: microalgae (Skeletonema costatum, Dunaliella tertiolecta, Tetraselmis seucica and Ostreopsis cf. ovata), Crustaceans (Amphibalanus amphitrite and Tigropius fulvus), Cnidarians (Aurelia aurita), Echinoderms (Paracentrotus lividus) and marine bacteria.

Research topics:

  • Marine ecology and biodiversity
  • Fisheries
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Oceanography and ocean modeling