Participant of COCARDE Network

University of Bologna

Field geology; paleontology and stratigraphy from on- and off-shore settings; hydrocarbon-seep environments and their geologic record; geobiology; application of remote sensing techniques.
Areas of investigation: Italy, Turkmenistan, northern Africa, Mediterranean Sea


Team expertise 

  • Stratigraphy and field geology
  • Paleoecology of chemosynthetic communities and their geologic context
  • Geobiology of seep carbonates
  • Geology and geochemistry of mud volcano emissions
  • Geology and geochemistry of methane derived authigenic carbonates
  • Hydrogeology
  • Remote sensing


Current projects

  • University of Bologna research programme titled: Mud volcanoes of Turkmenistan (P.I.: Giovanni Gabbianelli)
  • MIUR-PRIN 2008 (years 2010-2012) titled: Comparative geomicrobiology of the mounds in the Moroccan Sahara: implications for Mars astrobiology (P.I.: Roberto Barbieri)
  • MIUR-PRIN 2009 (years 2011-2013) titled: Carbonate conduits linked to hydrocarbons enriched seepages (P.I.: Rossella Capozzi)
  • Research funds from the University of Bologna.



The team benefits from the facilities of the Department of Earth and Geo-environmental Sciences and the Department of Biology of the University of Bologna. It also benefits from a formalized and unformalized agreements with the laboratory facilities of the Institute of Marine Sciences (CNR); the Università Politecnica delle Marche, IRSPS - Università D’Annunzio, the Department of Geology of the University of Johannesburg; the Department of Geological Sciences, University of Alabama; the Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen; the Departamento de Geociências, University of Aveiro. 
The University of Bologna geology team is part of CoNISMa, the National University Consortium for Marine Sciences (ESF Marine Board).




Prof. Dr.
Roberto Barbieri
Prof. Dr.
Giovanni Gabbianelli
Prof. Dr.
Rossella Capozzi
Prof. Dr.
Enrico Dinelli
Prof. Dr.
Vincenzo Picotti
Prof. Dr.
Marco Antonellini
Fulvio Franchi
Davide Oppo
Francesco Luigi Guido




Selected Publications


Capozzi R., Artoni A., Torelli L., Lorenzini S., Oppo D., Mussoni P., submitted. Neogene to Quaternary tectonics and mud diapirism in the Gulf of Squillace (Crotone-Spartivento Basin, Calabrian Arc, Italy). Marine and Petroleum Geology.

Cavalazzi, B. Barbieri, R., Cady, S., George, A.D., Gennaro, S., Westall, F., Lui, A., Canteri, R., Rossi, A.P., Ori, G.G., Taj-Eddine, K. (in press) Are the unusual iron-framboids from a hydrocarbon-related Devonian mound (Anti-Atlas, Morocco) a potential biosignature?   Sedimentary Geology.

Van Rooij, D., Blamart, D., De Mol, L., Mienis, F., Pirlet, H., Wehrmann, L.M., Barbieri, R., Maignien, L., Templer, S.P., de Haas, H., Hebbeln, D., Frank, N., Larmagnat, S., Stadnitskaia, A., Stivaletta, N., van Weering, T., Zhang, Y., Hamoumi, N., Cnudde, V., Duyck, P., Henriet, J.-P. & the MiCROSYSTEMS MD 169 shipboard party, 2011. Cold-water coral mounds on the Pen Duick Escarpment, Gulf of Cadiz: the MiCROSYSTEMS approach. Marine Geology, 282: 102-117.



Capozzi, R., Picotti, V., 2010. Spontaneous fluid emissions in the Northern Apennines: geochemistry, structures and implications for the petroleum system. In: Goffey, G. P., Craig, J., Needham, T. & Scott, R. (eds) Hydrocarbons in Contractional Belts. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 348, 115–135.



Barbieri, R., Cavalazzi, B., 2008. Fossil microorganisms at methane seeps: an astrobiological perspective. In Seckbach, J. and Walsh, M. (Eds), From Fossils to Astrobiology. Records of Life on Earth and the Search for Extraterrestrial Biosignatures Springer, New York, pp. 297-317.



Cavalazzi, B., 2007. Chemotrophic filamentous microfossils from the Hollard Mound (Devonian, Morocco) as investigated by focused ion beam. Astrobiology, 7: 402-415.

Cavalazzi, B., Barbieri, R., Ori, G.G., 2007. Chemosynthetic microbialites in the Devonian carbonate mounds of the Hamar Laghdad (Anti-Atlas, Morocco). Sedimentary Geology, 200: 73-88.

Picotti V., Capozzi R., Bertozzi G., Mosca F., Sitta A. and Tornaghi M., 2007. The Miocene petroleum system of the Northern Apennines in the central Po Plain (Italy). In: Lacombe O., Lavé J., Roure F., Vergès J. (Eds): Thrust Belts and Foreland Basins. Special Volume of Frontiers in Earth Sciences. Springer-Verlag, 117-131.



Barbieri, R., 2006. Fossil cold-seep ecosystem. In: McGraw-Hill 2006 Yearbook of Science and Technology, McGraw-Hill, New York, pp. 136-138.

Capozzi, R. and Picotti, V., 2006. Genesis of cold seeps and mud volcanoes of the Northern Apennine foothills. CIESM, 2006. Fluid seepages / mud volcanism in the Mediterranean and adjacent domains. CIESM Workshop Monographs n° 29, 59-64.



Barbieri, R., Cavalazzi, B., 2005. Microbial fabrics from Neogene cold seep carbonates, Northern Apennine, Italy. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 227, 143-155.

Sangiorgi F., Fabbri D., Comandini M., Gabbianelli G., Tagliavini E., 2005. The distribution of sterols and organic-walled dinoflagellate cysts in surface sediments of the North-western Adriatic Sea. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 64: 395-406.



Barbieri, R., Ori, G.G., Cavalazzi, B., 2004. A Silurian cold seep ecosystem from Middle Atlas, Morocco. Palaios, 19: 527-542.

Barbieri, R., Panieri, G., 2004. How are benthic foraminiferal faunas influenced by cold seeps? Evidence from the Miocene of Italy. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 204: 257-275.

Barbieri, R., Cavalazzi, B. 2004. Astrobiological implications of microbial morphologies in cold fluid-generated carbonates. Advancefs in Space Research, 33: 1262-1267.



Capozzi, R. and Picotti, V., 2002. Fluid migration and origin of a mud volcano in the Northern Apennines (Italy): role of deeply rooted normal faults. Terra Nova, 14, 5, 363-370.