Maria Antonietta Rosso

Full Professor of [GEO/01]
Membership Section: Earth Sicnce section

I am Full Professor in Palaeontology and Palaeoecology and expert of bryozoan taxonomy.

I am fond of these small marine animals exhibiting fantastic morphologies, and whose living and fossil species can be extremely informative about environmental parameters and their changes at small- and large-scale during time.

To look for them, I joined oceanographic cruises and field surveys all around the world, visited museums and collections, and undertaken collaborations with several, mostly European researchers.

I investigate fossils and present-day communities focusing on climate change and human-induced environmental changes, and their bearing on the marine biota, to the knowledge of past and present biodiversity, and its preservation for future generations.

I increase the collections and promote the palaeontological heritage of my institution dealing with the Paleontological Museum (for which I am the scientific responsible). Through this activity and teaching, I intercept and promote the curiosity of students in palaeontological topics.


1982: Degree in Geological Sciences: University of Catania;

1989: PhD in Environmental Sciences: Marine Environment and Resources, University of Messina;

1989: Researcher: Istituto Policattedra di Oceanologia e Paleoecologia, University of Catania;

1994-today: member of the CoNISMa (National Interuniversitary Consortium for the Sciences of the Sea).

2000: Associate Professor in Palaeontology and Palaeoecology: Department of Geological Sciences, University of Catania;

2002-oggi: Full Professor in Palaeontology and Palaeoecology: Department of Geological Sciences, University of Catania until 2011, now Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Catania;

2007-2014: Expert Evaluator for the EU FP7 (Environment)

2008-2013: Member of the Doctorate in Environmental Sciences: Marine Environment and Resources (Universities of Messina, Catania, Napoli “Federico II”, Napoli “Parthenope”);

2009-2011: Delegate for the relationships with students of the Faculty of Science;

2010-2011: Expert Evaluator for the Binational (Israele-USA) Science Foundation.

2010-2011: In the team of experts helping the Assessorato Territorio e Ambiente of the Sicily Region (Dipartimento Regionale dell’Ambiente-Gestione e affari relativi ai Siti di Importanza Comunitaria e Zone di Protezione Speciale) for the selection of SICs in marine areas in Sicily.

2011-2016: Director of the Museo di Scienze della Terra

2011-2012: Member of the Technical Commission for the Sistema Museale of the University of Catania;

2013-2014: Member of the Dottorate del Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra e dell’Ambiente, University of Catania

2013 e 2017: Expert Evaluator for the Polish Science Foundation.

2013-2020: Delegate of the Rector within the Consiglio Direttivo of the CoNISMa (National Interuniversitary Consortium for the Sciences of the Sea).

2018-today: Member of the Dottorate in: Scienze della Terra e dell’Ambiente, University of Catania.

2019-today: Scientific Responsible of the Museo di Paleontologia of the Dipartimento di Scienze Biologiche, Geologiche e Ambientali of the University of Catania.


President of the IBA (International Bryozoology Association): 2019-2022; member since 1990, in the Directive Board (2001-2007).

Member of the Società Paleontologica Italiana since 1990, in the directive board (2000-2003).

Member of the Accademia Gioenia di Catania since 2005, in the Directive Board (2017-2023).

Member of the Società Italiana di Biologia Marina since 1987.

Affiliated to the Stazione Marina Anthon Dorhn of Naples since 2015 and in the MoTax group.


- Member of several commissions for Full and Associate Professors and for selecting professors and researchers in Italy and abroad (New Zealand, Spain)

- Among the members eligible for the commissions for the ASN (Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale) (2016-18 and 2018-20)

- In the list of researchers in REPRISE

- Member of commissions for the assignment of research grants.

- Member of commissions for the assignment of PhD in Italy and abroad (University of Tunis, Tunisia, 2012; University of Utrect, Holland, 2014).

- Tutor/co-tutor for 4 “assegni di ricerca” (dal 2003).

- Tutor for 2 annual grants for research training in bryozoan taxonomy (2008-2009 and 2009-2010)

- Tutor of a PhD student 1 dottorando (2000-2003) and about 120 graduation or master theses of students in Geological Sciences, Marine Biology and Sciences of the Sea (since 1990).

Last edit: 02/02/2021

Academic Year 2022/2023

Academic Year 2021/2022

Academic Year 2020/2021

Academic Year 2019/2020

Academic Year 2018/2019

Academic Year 2017/2018

Academic Year 2016/2017

Academic Year 2015/2016

Research activity, arranged in: Overview, Projects, review activity, field work



Antonietta Rosso investigates biodiversity of living and dead/fossil marine benthic assemblages, mostly using bryozoans. Her research activity focuses on: 1) evaluation of bio/palaeo-bio-diversity, and its evolution in time and space in several areas including Antarctica and the Magellan Strait, Andaman Sea, north and central Atlantic and mostly the Mediterranean, with particular emphasis on the inheritance on biodiversity of the geological, climatic and palaeo-environmental changes happened in this basin in the last million years; 2) organisms-environment interactions; 3) composition and structure of communities formed by the in situ active growth of skeletonised organisms including biostalactites formed inside shallow-water submarine caves, coralligenous, and ColdWater Coral (CWC) habitats; 4) internal variability and spatial distribution of benthic communities in relation to: bottom physiography and geological and sedimentological nature of the substratum, sediment input and rate, physical and chemical characteristics of water body and near-bottom hydrodynamics; 5) identification and evaluation of long and mid-term ecological changes (including Holocene sea level fluctuations and climate change) and mid and brief term changes, also caused by human activities in historical and recent time as well as sudden catastrophic events, such as bottom sliding and tsunamis; 6) native and alien species distribution, vicariance, and diffusion; 7) dissemination of science through exhibitions and public events mostly in schools.

As a taxonomist, AR has a robust experience documented by numerous papers, dealing with establishment of new species and higher taxa, taxonomic revisions, reviews updating the Mediterranean bryozoan biodiversity, identification and description of alien bryozoan species and their diffusion in Italian waters and in the Mediterranean Sea.

She is presently involved in projects in taxonomy and mapping and benthic community characterization, mostly in the Mediterranean Sea.

Author/coauthor of 177 papers, mostly appeared on ISI journals, including 103 papers published on ISI journals (77 since 2010), and 73 on non-ISI journals. Further products include:1 map; 86 oral communications and 41 poster.

Scopus: citations: 1861; h-index: 22.

Google Scholar: citations: 3279; h-index: 27; i10-index: 80.


Research Projects

Coordination of Local Research Units within National Projects:

2020-2022: FISR 2019 call: CRESCIBLU-REEF "Grown in the blue: new technologies for knowledge and safeguard of Mediterranean reefs” Coordination of 1 of the 3 Local Units; Unit cost: Euro 395.818,00. Founding Euro 316.654,40.

2011-2015: RITMARE-La Ricerca ITaliana per il MARE, leader of a team dealing with the dissemination of the knowledge on sea research and Mediterranean geo-biological history and future in schools: coordinator of the RU 3 in the SP6.WP2.AZ1. Marine Sciences at school.

2011: MIUR Legge 6/2000-Iniziative per la Diffusione della Cultura Scientifica: Responsible for the project “Material and multimedial exhibitions to discover the Sicilian heritage hosted in the Catania University Museum: fossils, minerals and volcanic rocks”.

2008-2010: MATTM 3AMP: Analysis of the bryozoan communities in a study on the biodiversity of submarine caves – CODICE HABITAT 8330 – in the selected Marine Protected areas of Pelagie, Plemmirio and Capo Caccia

2006–2008: MATTM 4AMP Analysis of the bryozoan communities in a study on the biodiversity of coralligenous and infralittoral algae communities in the 4 selected MPAs (Egadi Islands, Porto Cesareo, Capo Rizzuto, Asinara Island).

2004-2007: FIRB-APLABES – White Corals Biocostructions in the southern Ionian Sea – Apulian Plateau Bank, focusing on the Leuca CWC mound province and investigating present-day and past facies and the relationships between the bioconstruction and neighboring habitats.

2000: CICLOPI 2000 - Cartografia topografica e biocenotica dei fondali mobili della Riserva Marina Isole Ciclopi, funded by the Ministry of Environment and the Capitaneria di Porto of Catania.

1994-1995: PRIN “Composition and structure of bathyal palaeocommunities in the Plio-Pleistocene.


Coordination of Research Projects funded by the University of Catania:

2020-2022: Catania University grants: PIACERI- PIano di inCEntivi per la Ricerca di Ateneo 2020/2022: Biodiversity and palaeobiodiversity of invertebrate and macroalgae in marine habitats. Founding: Euro 35.711,36. Four researchers.

2018-2019 and 2019-2020: Catania University grants. Biodiversity and palaeobiodiversity of relevant marine habitats. 4 researchers.

2015-2017: Progetto FIR: Biodiversità e variazioni spazio-temporali di comunità a Cystoseira della Biocenosi delle Alghe Infralitorali nell’Area Marina Protetta Isole Ciclopi (Mar Ionio) – CIMPA-BioChange

2015–2017: Catania University grants (FIR): Biodiversity and spatio-temporal variations of Cystoseira communities within the Infralittoral Algae in the Ciclopi Islands Marine Protected Area (Ionian Sea) - CIMPA–BIOCHANGE on the evaluation of the status of selected facies.


Partecipation to local and national projects:

2011-2015: COCARDE –ERN Network– COld-water CArbonate Reservoir systems in Deep Environments.

2011-2014: BIOMAP “Bioconstruzioni marine in Puglia, P.O. FESR 2007-2013. Asse 4, Linea 4.4. Misure per il network ecologico”, funded by the Regione Puglia, to study the Coralligenous Biocoenosis, with special charge on bryozoan biodiversity.

2012-2013: Marine Strategy, within CoNISMa (Consorzio Interuniversitario per le Scienze del Mare) projects, to the evaluation of the “good environmental status” for particular sectors and benthic associations strategic for Italy.

2006-2008: Geologic cartography of the Messina Strait area.

2005-2006: PRIN: cartography of the coastal area and evaluation of the tsunami impact in the Kao Lack area, within the project: Holocene evoluzione and present-day environments in tropical coastal areas: a pilot study in the Gulf of Thailand.

1999-2000: PRIN: Composition and structure of Quaternary paleopopulations in relation to climatic variability.

1994-1996: EOCUMM 1994 and EOCUMM 1995 on the characterisation of Gioia and Cefalù basins, focusing on present-day living and dead associations from the shelf and the continental slope.

1994: PNRA and Joint German-Italian-Chilean project on subantarctic areas (Magellan Strait). Identification and characterisation of benthonic assemblages.

1993-1994: EU project (France-Italy-Greece) for the recovery of polluted coastal areas.

1992-1996: Studies for the feasability for the Marine Protected Areas of Pelagie, Eolie and Ciclopi Islands Archipelagos.

1990-1991: Nature and evolution of the Bancks with red coral off Sciacca (Sicily Strait).

1987-1995: PNRA (Italian National Antarctic Project): Identification and characterisation of benthonic associations in the Ross Sea (Antarctica).

1984-1985: Sedimentologic and bionomic cartography of the coastal areas of Sicily down to 50 m isobath.

1981-1984: Bionomic cartography of the continental shelf of the Gulf of Noto (SE Sicily).




Biologia Mediterranea

Boletin Sociedad Geologica Mexicana

Bollettino Accademia Gioenia di Scienze Naturali

Bollettino della Società Paleontologica Italiana

Buletin de la Real Sociedad Española de Historia Natural

Cahiers de Biologie Marine

Check List - The Journal of Biodiversity Data

Egyptian Journal of Aquatic Research

Environmental Science

Environmental Science and Pollution Research

Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Sciences

European Journal of Taxonomy

Florida Museum of Natural History

Frontiers in Marine Sciences


Gortania- Atti Museo Friulano di Storia Naturale




IBA- International Bryozoology Association Proceedings

Il Naturalista Siciliano

Italian Journal of Zoology

Journal of Marine Science & Research Development

Journal of Natural History

Journal of Palaeontology

Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK

Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research

Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems


Marine Biodiversity

Marine Biodiversity Records

Marine Biology Research

Marine Ecology Progress Series

Marine Geology

Marine Pollution Bulletin

Mediterranean Marine Science

Memoirs of the Association of Australasian Palaeontologists

Memorie di Scienze Geologiche

Museologia Scientifica

Neues Jahrbuch fur Geologie und Palaontologie

Oceanography and Marine Biology Annual Review


Open Paleontology

Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology


Paleontologia Electronica



Polish Polar Research

Progress in Oceanography

Regional Studies in Marine Science

Rendiconti online della Società Geologica Italiana


Thalassas, an International Journal of Marine Sciences

The Holocene





Reviewer also for articles published on tematic volumes published by Springer and Balkema, proceedings of meetings of the IBA-International Bryozoological Assocation and of Italian paleontological (Società Italiana di Paleontologia) and biological (Società Italiana di Biologia Marina, Società Italiana di Biogeografia) associations.


Field work

Oceanografic cruises

2010: December: MEDCOR cruise in the Sicily Strait and around the Maltese Islands on board of Urania (ISMAR-CNR, Italy).

2009: October: Field survey in Thailand, Pucket area, Andamane Sea.

2008: October: MERC cruise in the Messina Strait, on board of the Universitatis; Cruice chief for the last part of the cruise.

2005-2006: two APLABES cruises on the Apulian continental slope, off S. Maria di Leuca, on board of the Universitatis.

2000: July: Ciclopi 2000 cruice, in the Marine Protected Area of the Ciclopi Islands, on board of Marenostrum.

1995: June-July: EOCUMM cruisein the Cefalù and Gioia basins, on board of the Magnaghi.

1994: January: Joint German-Italian-Chilean survey in the Magellan Strait.

1983–1996: Several cruises in different sectors of Sicily shelf (Ustica, Gulf of Noto, Gulf of Milazzo, Banco Graham bank and other localities in the Sicily Strait).

1982, July: PS/82 survey in the SE sector of the Sicilia shelf, on board of Lachea

1981: July: PS/81survey in the Gulf of Noto, on board of Lachea.


Field surveys and sampling on land

2016: May: 2 weeks. Palaeoecological surveys in Permian and Mesozoic deposits of SW Australia.

2009: October: field survey in Thailandia, Pucket area.

2003: April: survey and sampling in several Tirrhenian outcrops along the coast of Tunisia.

2001: May: sampling survey in North Morocco.

1994: January: Searching of Quaternary fossiliferous outcrops and sampling in Patagonia (Chile)

1982-oggi: several surveys and sampling on fossiliferous, mostly Cenozoic, outcrops, in several localities, mostly in Sicily and Calabria. Main areas of interest are: Messina and surroundings, the Milazzo peninsula, Catania and surroundings; Caltagirone and surroundings; Reggio Calabria and surroundings; Vibo Valentia; Southern Umbria; Custonaci (TP); Altavilla (PA).


Soggiorni di ricerca

2017: 2 weeks: Senkemberg Institute of Wilhelmshaven, Germany

2000: 1 month: Sancherdi, Island

1990: 1 month: Concepcion, Chile

1987: 1 month: Station Marine d’Endoume, Marseille, France

1985: 4 months: Lyon, France.