I am a plant molecular ecologist with a passion for ancient DNA studies. I am interested in studying how plants adapted and changed their genetics and distribution ranges in response to climate. In my group we uses ancient environmental DNA extracted from lake sediments to identify plant taxa, but also modern DNA from contemporary populations to understand their current genetic relationships and history. To increase the taxonomic resolution of our plant identifications in lakes, we are developing molecular techniques based on the shotgun sequencing and hybriudization capture approaches.
Since 1994 I have worked in Sweden at Uppsala University and from November 2019 I returned to Italy where I am Associate Professor at Sapienza University of Rome. I have a BSc/MSc degree (1991) in Agricultural Sciences, a PhD (2000) in Forest Genetics and a Swedish 'Docentur' (2012) in Plant Ecology.
Research - In my group we study the ecology and evolution of plant populations: how genetics, demography and ranges of plants have changed during the climatic events of the last thousands of years. Over the past plants have persisted through long periods of climate change including several glacial and interglacial periods. Pollen and macrofossil records from lake and peat archives show how plant populations changed their ranges in response to changing climates and suggest also how some tolerant species may have behaved differently and even survived at high latitudes during glaciations. Plant populations have also changed sizes and genetic composition due to drift and adaptation to new environments while they migrated. We use modern DNA from living plants and ancient DNA from pollen, macrofossils and sediments from lakes and peatlands to investigate all these changes.
Keywords - Molecular ecology, Ancient DNA, Plant fossil record, Environmental DNA, Metabarcoding, Metagenomics, Lake sediments, Plant geography, Plant systematics.
- Advanced Biological Methods Applied to Cultural Heritage (MSc course in Sciences and Technology for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage and in the Erasmus Mundus program ARCHMAT) 6 CFU, English.
- Fitogeografia (BSc course in Natural Sciences) 6 CFU, Italian.
- Sistematica e conservazione della flora (BSc course in Biological Sciences) 6 CFU, Italian.
- Ecological Effects of Climate Change (PhD course, III year) 3 CFU, English.