Simona Bussotti - Researcher
Fish and Benthic Ecology, Marine Caves, Marine Protected Areas
Fish and benthos visual census, Marine invertebrate sorting
+33 (0)492076865
+33 (0)492076849

Presently Researcher 'CoNISMa' (National Interuniversity Consortium of Marine Sciences, Rome) associated to ECOMERS lab. I received a graduate degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Genoa (Italy), and a Ph.D. in Environmental Biology at the Universites of Siena and Salento-Lecce (Italy). I had a scholarship at the Benthic Ecology Laboratory of the Zoological Station 'Anton Dohrn' of Naples (Italy). I did my Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Salento (Lecce, Italy). I am involved in several national and international projects with particular emphasis on effectiveness of marine protected areas, settlement and recruitment patterns of littoral fishes, spatio-temporal distribution patterns of rocky reef fish assemblages and rocky sessile benthic assemblages, including marine cave habitats. In recent years I have been involved in many education and communication projects with school students and general public. I am author of 34 scientific articles on ISI journals and 36 publications appeared on national journals and congress proceedings.



Guidetti P., Addis P., Atzori F., Bussotti S., Calò A., Cau A., Culioli J.M., De Lucia G.A., Di Franco A., Di Lorenzo M., Follesa M.C., Gazale V., Massaro G., Mura F., Navone A., Pala D., Panzalis P.A., Pusceddu A., Ruiu A., Cau A., 2019. Assessing the potential of marine Natura 2000 sites to produce ecosystemwide effects in rocky reefs: a case study from Sardinia Island (Italy). Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 29:537–545.


Bussotti S., Di Franco A., Bianchi C.N., Chevaldonné P., Egea L., Fanelli E., Lejeusne C., Musco L., Navarro-Barranco C., Pey A., Planes S., Vieux-Ingrassia J.V., Guidetti P., 2018. Fish mitigate trophic depletion in marine cave ecosystems. Scientific Reports 8, 9193;



Aguilar R., Marín P., Gerovasileiou V., Bakran-Petricioli T., Ballesteros E., Bazairi H., Bianchi C.N., Bussotti S. , Canese S., Chevaldonné P., D. Evans, Fourt M., J. Grinyó J., Harmelin J.G., Jeudy de Grissac A., Mačić V., Orejas C., del Mar Otero M., Pergent G., Petricioli D., Ramos-Esplá A., Rosso A., Sanfilippo R., Taviani M., Tunesi L., Würtz M., 2017. Guidelines for Inventoring and Monitoring of Dark Habitats. United Nations Environment Programme. Mediterranean Action Plan. 58 pp.

Bussotti S., Di Franco A., Pey A., Vieux-Ingrassia J.V., Planes S. and Guidetti P., 2017. Distribution patterns of marine cave fishes and the potential role of the cardinal fish Apogon imberbis (Linnaeus, 1758) for cave ecosystem functioning in the western Mediterranean. Aquatic Living Resources 30 15. DOI:

Thibaut T., Blanfuné A., Boudouresque C.F., Personnic S., Ruitton S., Ballesteros E., Bellan-Santini D., Bianchi C.N., Bussotti S., Cebrian E., Cheminée A., Culioli J.M., Derrien-Courtel S., Guidetti P., Harmelin-Vivien M., Hereu B., Morri C., Poggiale J.C., Verlaque M., 2017. An ecosystem-based approach to assess the status of Mediterranean algae-dominated shallow rocky reefs. Marine Pollution Bulletin 117: 311–329.


Bussotti S., Di Franco A., Francour P., Guidetti P., 2015. Fish assemblages of Mediterranean marine caves. PlosOne 10(4): e0122632. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0122632.
Rastorgueff P.A., Bellan-Santini D., Bianchi C.N., Bussotti S., Chevaldonné P., Guidetti P., Harmelin J.G., Montefalcone M., Morri C., Perez T., Ruitton S., Vacelet J., Personnic S., 2015. An ecosystem-based approach to evaluate the ecological quality of Mediterranean undersea caves. Ecological Indicators 54: 137-152.


Sahyoun R., Bussotti S., Di Franco A., Navone A., Panzalis P., Guidetti P., 2013. Protection effects on Mediterranean fish assemblages associated with different rocky habitats. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 93: 425-435.
La Mesa G., Guidetti P., Bussotti S., Cattaneo-Vietti R., Manganaro A., Molinari A., Russo G.F., Spanò N., Gennaro V., Tunesi L., 2013. Rocky reef fish assemblages at six Mediterranean marine protected areas: broad-scale patterns in assemblage structure, species richness and composition. Italian Journal of Zoology, 80: 90-103



Bussotti S., Guidetti P., 2011. Timing and habitat preferences for settlement of juvenile fishes in the Marine Protected Area of Torre Guaceto (south-eastern Italy, Adriatic Sea). Italian Journal of Zoology, 78, 243-254.


Guidetti P., Bussotti S., Pizzolante F., Ciccolella A., 2010. Assessing the potential of an artisanal fishing co-management in the Marine Protected Area of Torre Guaceto (southern Adriatic Sea, SE Italy). Fisheries Research 101: 180-187.



Bussotti S., Guidetti P., 2009. Do Mediterranean fish assemblages associated with marine caves and rocky cliffs differ? Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 81: 65-73.
Di Franco A., Bussotti S., Navone A., Panzalis P., Guidetti P., 2009. Evaluating effects of total and partial restrictions to fishing on Mediterranean rocky-reef fish assemblages. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 387: 275-285.
Fraschetti S., D'Ambrosio P., Micheli F., Pizzolante F., Bussotti S., Terlizzi A., 2009. Planning Marine Protected Areas  in a human-dominated  seascape. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 387:223-239.



Guidetti P., Milazzo M., Bussotti S., Molinari A., Murenu M., Pais A., Spanò N., Balzano R., Agardy T., Boero F., Carrada G., Cattaneo-Vietti R., Cau A., Chemello R., Greco S., Manganaro A., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Russo G.F., Tunesi L., 2008. Italian marine reserve effectiveness: does enforcement matter? Biological Conservation, 141: 699-709.
Guidetti P., Vierucci E., Bussotti S., 2008. Differences in escape response of fish in protected and fished Mediterranean rocky reefs. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 88: 625-627.



Vacchi M., Bussotti S., Miglietta A.M., Guidetti P., 2007. Presence of the Guinean puffer Sphoeroides marmoratus (Lowe, 1838) in the Mediterranean Sea. Journal of Fish Biology, 71: 1215-1219.



Bussotti S., Terlizzi A., Fraschetti S., Belmonte G., Boero F., 2006. Distribution patterns of sessil benthos in shallow Mediterranean marine caves: a local scale approach. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 325: 109-119.



 Bussotti S., Guidetti P., 2005. Distribution patterns of the golden goby, Gobius auratus, in Mediterranean sublittoral rocky cliffs. Italian Journal of Zoology, 72: 305-309.
Guidetti P., Bussotti S., Boero F., 2005. Evaluating the effects of protection on fish predators and sea urchins in shallow artificial rocky habitats: a case study in the northern Adriatic Sea. Marine Environmental Research, 59: 333-348.
Fraschetti S., Terlizzi A., Bussotti S., Guarnieri G., D'Ambrosio P., Boero F., 2005. Conservation of Mediterranean seascapes: analyses of existing protection schemes. Marine Environmental Research, 59: 309-332.



Boero F., Belmonte G., Bussotti S., Fanelli G., Fraschetti S., Giangrande A., Gravili C., Guidetti P., Pati A., Piraino S., Rubino F., Saracino O.D., Schmich J., Terlizzi A., Geraci S., 2004. From biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, to the roots of ecological complexity. Ecological Complexity, 1: 101-109.



Bussotti S., Guidetti P., Belmonte G., 2003. Distribution patterns of the cardinal fish, Apogon imberbis, in shallow marine caves in southern Apulia (SE Italy). Italian Journal of Zoology, 70: 153-157.


PhD thesis abstract:


The purpose of my PhD research was to expand knowledge on benthic and fish of the rocky bottom of some submerged cavities that open along the coast of Salento (South Apulia).
I described the spatial distribution of benthic hard bottom environment of marine caves to investigate if they, as traditionally believed, could be interpreted solely based on the gradient that occured along the outside-in, or rather other sources of variability were involved in structuring these populations.
As for the fish fauna the investigation of this component was done to have more information on the structure of fish populations of sea caves. This study has allowed us to understand, among other things whether the caves could provide refuge for small and adults of many species of fish, which, however, could contribute to '"input" of organic matter through their movements outside-inside for the benefit of sessile organisms filter feeders that live there.
Beyond purely scientific interest the knowledge of these environments was also important for a proper management of the institution of future Marine Protected Areas.