Dr David Balata

School of Biology & Environmental Science
Science Centre West
University College Dublin
Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
email: david.balata@ucd.ie


My principal interests are to describe the role of marine habitats in temperate coastal ecosystems, and to understand the mechanisms by which human activities can affect the diversity and functioning of natural assemblages. My recent research focused on responses of different metrics of biodiversity, such as species richness (the number of species), α diversity (species and relative abundance), β diversity (between habitat diversity) and functional diversity (the value and range of traits of organisms that influence ecosystem functioning) to anthropogenic disturbances such as eutrophication, increase of sedimentation and introduced invasive species.
At present, I am studying the extent to which functional diversity can be used to predict rates of ecosystem functioning and sensitivity to species loss. In particular, my experiments focus on primary producers inhabiting intertidal rock pools on the west coast of Ireland, including both macroalgae and microbial films. This work is funded by Science Foundation Ireland (Research Frontiers Programme award to Dr Tasman Crowe). The study on biofilms is done in collaboration with Dave Paterson (St. Andrews University).

Journal articles

1) Balata D. & Mariani S., 2009. "Culling Whales: Ethically and Ecologically Wrong". Science, 324: p. 464.

2) Irving A., Balata D., Colosio C., Ferrando G., Airoldi L. 2009. Light, sediment, temperature, and the early life-history of the habitat-forming alga Cystoseira barbata. Marine Biology in press.
3) Nesti U., Piazzi L., Balata D. 2009. Variability in the structure of epiphytic assemblages of the Medieterranean seagrass Posidonia oceanica in relation to depth. Marine Ecology an evolutionary prospective ISSN 0173-9565.
4) Piazzi L., Balata D. 2009. Invasion of alien macroalgae in different Mediterranean habitats Biological Invasion 11: 193-204.
5) Balata D., Piazzi L. 2008. Patterns of diversity of rocky subtidal macroalgal assemblages in relation to depth. Botanica Marina 51: 464-471.
6) Airoldi L., Balata D., Beck M. W. 2008. The Gray Zone: relationships between habitat loss and marine diversity and their applications in conservation. Journal of Experiment in Marine Biology and Ecology 366: 8-15.
7) Balata D., Bertocci I., Piazzi L., Nesti U. 2008. Comparison between epiphyte assemblages of leaves and rhizomes of the seagrass Posidonia oceanica subjected to different levels of anthropogenic eutrophication. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 79: 533-540.
8) Piazzi L., Balata D. 2008. The spread of Caulerpa racemosa var. cylindracea in the Mediterranean Sea: an example of how biological invasions can influence beta diversity. Marine Environmental Research 65: 50-61.
9) Balata D., Piazzi L., Benedetti-Cecchi L. 2007 Sediment disturbance and loss of beta diversity on rocky reefs. Ecology 88: 2455-2461.
10) Piazzi L., De Biasi A.M., Balata D., Pardi G., Boddi S., Acunto S., Pertusati M., Papi I., Cinelli F., Sartoni G. 2007. Species composition and patterns of spatial variability of morphological forms of macroalgal epiphytic assemblages of the seagrass. Posidonia oceanica. Vie et Milieu 57: 171-180.
11) Balata D., Piazzi L., Cinelli F. 2007. Increase of sedimentation in a subtidal system: effects on the structure and diversity of macroalgal assemblages. Journal of Experiment in Marine Biology and Ecology 351: 73-82.
12) Piazzi L., Balata D., Cinelli F. 2007. Invasions of alien macroalgae in Mediterranean coralligenous assemblages. Cryptogamie Algologie 28 (3): 289-301.
13) Cecchi E., Piazzi L., Balata D. 2007. Interaction between depth and protection in determining the structure of Mediterranean coastal fish assemblages. Aquatic Living Resources 20: 123-129.
14) Balata D., Nesti U., Piazzi L., Cinelli F. 2007. Patterns of spatial variability of seagrass epiphytes in the north-west Mediterranean Sea. Marine Biology 151: 2025-2035.
15) Piazzi L., Balata D., Foresi L., Cristaudo C., Cinelli F. 2007. Sediment as a constituent of Mediterranean benthic communities dominated by Caulerpa racemosa var Cylindracea. Scientia Marina 71(1): 129-135.
16) Pardi G., Piazzi L. , Balata D., Papi I., Cinelli F., Benedetti-Cecchi L. 2006. Spatial variability in epiphytic assemblages of Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile. Marine Ecology an evolutionary prospective 27: 397-403.
17) Balata D., Acunto S., Cinelli F. 2006. Spatio-temporal variability and vertical distribution of a low rocky subtidal assemblage in the north-west Mediterranean. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 67: 553-561.
18) Piazzi L., Balata D., G. Ceccherelli, Cinelli F. 2005. Interactive effect of sedimentation and Caulerpa racemosa var. cylindracea invasion on macroalgal assemblages in the Mediterranean Sea. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 64: 467-474.
19) Balata D., Piazzi L., Cecchi E., Cinelli F. 2005. Variability of Mediterranean coralligenous assemblages subject to local variation in turbidity and sediment deposits. Marine Environmental Research. 60: 403-421.
20) Piazzi L., Meinesz A., Verlaque M., Akçali B., Antolić B., Argyrou M., Balata D., Ballesteros E., Calvo S., Cinelli F., Cirik S., Cossu A., D’Archino R., Djellouli A.S., Javel F., Lanfranco E., Mifsud C., Pala D., Panayotidis P., Peirano A., Pergent G., Petrocelli A., Ruitton S., Žuljević A., Seccherelli G. 2005. Invasion of Caulerpa racemosa var. cylindracea (Caulerpales, Chlorophyta) in the Mediterranean Sea: an assessment of the early stages of spread. Cryptogamie Algologie. 26 (2): 189-202.
21) Piazzi L., Balata D., Cinelli F., Benedetti-Cecchi L. 2004. patterns of spatial variabilità in epiphytes of Posidonia oceanica differences between a disturbed and two reference locations. Aquatic Botany, 79: 345-356.
22) Piazzi L., Balata D., Cinelli F. 2004. Species composition and morphological groups of macroalgal assemblages around Gorgona Island (north-western Mediterranean Sea). Cryptogamie Algologie. 25 (1): 19-38.
23) Piazzi L., Balata D., Pertusati M., Cinelli F. 2004. Spatial and temporal variability of Mediterranean macroalgal coralligenous assemblages in relation to habitat and substrate inclination. Botanica Marina. 47: 105-115.
24) Balata D., Piazzi L., Cinelli F. 2004. A comparison among macroalgal assemblages in areas invaded by Caulerpa taxifolia and C. racemosa on subtidal Mediterranean reefs. P.S.Z.N. Marine Ecology. 25 (1): 1-13.
25) Piazzi L., Balata D., Cecchi E., Cinelli F. 2003. Co-occurrence of Caulerpa taxifolia and C. racemosa in the Mediterranean Sea: interspecific interactions and influence on native macroalgal assemblages. Cryptogamie Algologie, 24 (3): 233-243.
26) Piazzi L., G. Ceccherelli, Balata D., Cinelli F. 2003. Early patterns of Caulerpa racemosa recovery in the Mediterranean Sea: the influence of algal turfs. Journal of Marine Biology Association U.K. 83, 3857: 1-3
27) Ceccherelli G., Piazzi L., Balata D. 2002. Spread of introduced Caulerpa species in macroalgal habitats. Journal of Experiment in Marine Biology and Ecology 280: 1-11.
28) Piazzi L., Pardi G., Balata D., Cecchi E., Cinelli F. 2002. Seasonal dynamics of a subtidal north-western Mediterranean macroalgal community in relation to depth and substrate inclination. Botanica Marina, 45: 243-252.
29) Piazzi L., Balata D., Cinelli F. 2002. Epiphytic macroalgal assemblages of Posidonia oceanica rhizomes in the western Mediterranean. European Journal Phycology, 37(1): 69-76.
30) Piazzi L., Balata D., G. Ceccherelli, Cinelli F. 2001. Comparative study of the growth of the two co-occurring introduced green algae Caulerpa taxifolia and Caulerpa racemosa along the Tuscan coast (Italy, western Mediterranean). Cryptogamie Algologie, 22 (4): 456-466.