2024 World Seagrass Conference & 15th International Seagrass Biology Workshop

Field trips


The Gulf of Napoli is a marginal basin of approximately 900 km2 located almost at the biogeographic boundary between the north and south Tyrrhenian sectors, which are characterized by different thermal regimes. It has an average depth of 170 m and a complex bottom topography featuring two submarine canyons (Magnaghi and Dohrn) with depths up to 800 m, various deep banks of volcanic origin, and a continental shelf with widths ranging from 2.5 to 20 km. The two canyons act as an efficient motor for the renewal and dilution of the coastal, sometimes polluted waters of the heavy urban colonization of the Gulf’s coastal area. The islands of Ischia, Procida and Capri bond the external edge of the Gulf; the northern limit is represented by the Campi Flegrei area, whereas the Sorrento peninsula and Capri Island enclose the South of the Gulf. Three marginal sub-basins can be identified within the Gulf of Naples: the Bay of Pozzuoli in the northern part, the Bay of Naples in the central sector, and the Gulf of Castellammare in the south-eastern part of the basin.

The volcanic origin, and nowadays still active volcanoes (Vesuvio, the Campi Flegrei and the island of Ischia) characterize the geochemistry of the area. On its southern side, the presence of calcareous rocks (dolomite) of marine origin around Sorrento peninsula and the island of Capri offers quite a rich variety of iconic marine caves (e.g. Grotta Azzurra in Capri). The Gulf of Napoli hosts a large variety of marine coastal and deep habitats due to this double geological and lithological nature. The high marine biodiversity of the Gulf of Napoli has been documented and studied since the end of the XIX century. The Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn was founded in 1872 and promoted the production of a large amount of literature on the taxonomy and distribution of the local marine flora and fauna. Within the Gulf, there are 4 Marine Protected Areas (see Field Trips page) – MPAs Regno di Nettuno, Baia, Gaiola, and Punta Campanella, a special area where fishery is banned (Santa Croce Bank)-, and one Regional Park (Campi Flegrei). Seagrass meadows are mostly present around the Islands of Ischia and Procida, in the Gulf of Pozzuoli, and along the coasts of the Sorrento Peninsula (see the map).

FIELD TRIPS will mainly concentrate on the Marine Protected Areas present in the Gulf of Napoli. Each Field Trip will give the opportunity to explore nature and to taste the cultural and historical heritage of the area.

The MPA Regno di Nettuno (Field Trips 1 and 2) includes the islands of Ischia, Procida and Vivara, and was established in 2008 to specially protect the vast Posidonia oceanica meadows surrounding the three islands, covering more than 20 Km2 of sea bottom. The island of Ischia also features shallow volcanic CO2 vents systems, involving also P. oceanica meadows. 

The MPA of Baia (Field Trip 3), within the Gulf of Pozzuoli, was established in 2000. It is a unique marine archaeological park representing the only submersed archaeological site in all Europe. It is possible to snorkel and spot Roman ruins, such as a ninfeo, villas, thermal and harbour structures with statues and mosaics, at a few metres depth.

The MPA of Gaiola (Field Trip 4) was established in 2000 and represents the only park located within the urban context of the city of Naples, including both marine and ancient Roman archaeological structures.

The MPA of Punta Campanella (Field Trip 5), established in 1999 on the southern coast of the Gulf, includes most of the Sorrento Peninsula facing the island of Capri and it is rich in marine caves due to its calcareous and karstic nature and features dense P. oceanica patches.

Field trips are included in the registration fee. When registering, participants should select one field trip and indicate a second choice. Field trips will remain available until the maximum number of participants is reached.
Please look at the requirements for each field trip and book it according to your interest. Consider that some of the Field Trips require a minimum fitness to carry out the proposed activities.
All field trips are expected to return to Napoli by 5 pm.

Tips: The air temperature in June 2023 ranged between 18.8°C and max 26°C. Nevertheless, it can be warmer! For snorkelers, average seawater temperature in June is about 23.0 °C, in the Gulf of Napoli. It is up to you to bring a thin wet suit, besides mask and snorkel.

Please note last minute changes can occur for field trips due to weather conditions and if the minimum number of participants is not reached.

FT1 - Ischia

fields trip ischia

Hosted by the MPA Regno di Nettuno (www.nettunoamp.it)

Max participants: 60
Requirements: snorkelling gear

Tips: bring your sun hat, sunscreen, swim gear and beach towel and do not forget your pills, if you get seasick!

Activity: Ferry boat to Ischia and welcome at the MPA Regno di Nettuno headquarter in Ischia Harbour. Boat tour around the Island with snorkelling on seagrass meadows, including a hydrothermal vents site. Back to Napoli by ferry.

FT2 - Procida

Hosted by the MPA Regno di Nettuno (www.nettunoamp.it)

Max participants: 60

Requirements: snorkelling gear

Tips: walking from the harbour to the Corricella village and going to the beach will take approximately one hour in total, round trip. Bring comfortable shoes, sun hat, sunscreen, swim gear and beach towel.

Activity: Ferry boat to Procida (Italian cultural capital in 2022). Visit the colourful fishing village of Corricella and Terra Murata, the medieval village overlooking the sea. Snorkelling from the beach on a large Posidonia oceanica meadow. Back to Napoli by ferry.

FT3 - Baia

Hosted by the Parco Sommerso di Baia (https://www.parcosommersobaia.beniculturali.it/en)

Max participants: 40

Requirements: snorkelling gear 

Tips: snorkelling and visiting the museum can be tiring… be ready. Bring your sun hat, sun screen, swim gear and beach towel and do not forget your pills, if you get seasick. 

Activity: Bus to Baia, in the middle of the Phlegrean Fields. Snorkelling with the Diving Centre Subaia (https://subaia.com/) on the Roman ruins of the Underwater Park and on nearby Posidonia oceanica patches. New mosaics have been uncovered under Posidonia dead matte! Snorkelling sites will be reached by dinkey. Visit to the Roman Thermal Baths of Baia. Back to Napoli by bus.

FT4 - Gaiola

Hosted by the MPA Parco Sommerso di Gaiola (https://www.areamarinaprotettagaiola.it/en)

Max participants: 40

Requirements: snorkelling gear 

Tips: This trip includes walking in the Archeological Park and climbing up from the sea to the main road (20 minutes). Bring your sun hat, sun screen, swim gear and beach towel and comfortable walking shoes.

Activity: Bus to the Parco Archeologico di Pausillipon. Walking through the Roman gallery of Seiano, to reach the ruins of the Roman villa, facing the sea. Visit the Archeological Park to reach the MPA Parco Sommerso di Gaiola headquarter. Snorkelling on rocky shores or cruising in the glass bottom ship of the MPA, enjoying the beach. Back to Napoli by bus.

FT5 - Punta Campanella

Hosted by the MPA Punta Campanella (https://www.puntacampanella.org/)

Max participants: 40

Requirements: good fitness, snorkelling gear and trekking shoes. 

Tips: this is the longer field trip and requires good fitness, desire to walk and good trekking shoes. Bus will leave early from Napoli, to allow enough time for the trip. Bring your sun hat, sunscreen, swim gear, and your beach towel. Extra water is needed.

Activity: Bus to Termini (about 75 minutes). Easy hike through the scenic path of the Punta Campanella, to reach the last strip of land of the Sorrento Peninsula with a view of the island of Capri and its stacks, the Gulfs of Naples and Salerno, in the heart of the “Marine Protected Area of Punta Campanella”. Hike time, roundtrip, 2.5 hours (4 km). At the end of the path return to the bus at 1.00 pm and leave for Marina del Cantone (15 min). Pocket lunch on the beach and snorkelling with the MPA guide in the crystal-clear waters of the famous tourist area, to look at Posidonia oceanica meadows. Back to Napoli by bus.

FT6 - Ercolano

Partially hosted by Fondazione Dohrn (https://fondazionedohrn.it/)

Max participants: 50

Requirements: comfortable shoes 

Tips: you won’t get wet, but maybe sweat, in this field trip. The Roman Ruins of Herculaneum can be very hot, if the sun is shining. Bring your sun hat and sunscreen.

Activity: Bus to Ercolano and guided tour of the Archeological Park. Visit the ruins of Herculaneum city after the Vesuvio eruption of the year 79 AD, which also destroyed Pompei. 

Bus to the nearby SZN Turtle Point, to visit the largest hospital for marine turtles of Italy.

Back to Napoli by bus.