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The first networking event of LIFE Pinna

On June 13, more than twenty researchers from Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia gathered to participate in the first networking event of LIFE Pinna, organized by Triton Research and Shoreline at the BioMa headquarters of the Miramare Marine Protected Area, on the Trieste coastline. The morning was dedicated to the exchange of data and technical information among the various international projects that are trying to save the largest mollusk in the Mediterranean from extinction.

After the welcome addresses by Maurizio Spoto, director of the Marine Area, and Daniela Caracciolo, project manager at Arpal and lead of LIFE Pinna, it was José Rafael García-March from IMEDMAR-UCV who started the in-depth sessions, presenting the current state of the Spanish-led project LIFE Pinnarca.

Biologists Maria Paola Ferranti and Alice Oprandi from the University of Genoa then presented the latest results achieved by LIFE Pinna in maintaining some specimens of Pinna nobilis, both in the laboratory and at sea, as well as the procedures used to attempt to achieve the captive reproduction of the bivalve.

Following this, Marco Sigovini from CNR ISMAR in Venice illustrated the actions of the Italian-Slovenian project INTERREG IT-SI TRECap, which aims to promote the cross-border management of all protected areas in the Upper Adriatic to increase the chances of recovery for threatened species like Pinna nobilis. Finally, Sandro Dujmović from the organization Natura Histrica presented the latest data from the bivalve censuses in Croatia, where the epidemic reached in 2019, as well as the activities carried out by researchers and the results of citizen science efforts.

In the afternoon, the biologists moved to the Grignano marina, where they embarked on a boat trip led by Saul Ciriaco and Marco Segarich of Shoreline, exploring the scenic setting of the Miramare Castle. Upon reaching the area where Shoreline manages a nursery with some specimens of Pinna nobilis, the divers immersed themselves to retrieve a couple of individuals. Measurements were taken, and their health status was checked before they were placed back into the submerged cages. After also inspecting the area designated for larval collectors, the boat returned to the port.

The following day was dedicated to traveling to Pula, Croatia, where the researchers visited the local aquarium, welcomed by the owner Milena Mičić. In the laboratories, they observed the tanks designated for the maintenance and reproduction of the specimens housed in the aquarium, the bioreactors with cultures of phytoplankton and zooplankton used to feed the bivalves, and the molecular analysis laboratory.