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Environmental and Evolutionary Biology

Offered by

Sapienza Università di Roma

Fields of Study

Biological, Geological and Agricultural Sciences

Working Languages

Italian, English

Programme

Environmental and Evolutionary Biology

Research Areas

The four curricula composing the Doctoral Program in Environmental and Evolutionary Biology, including PhDs in Botany, Ecological Sciences, Animal Biology, and Anthropology, have been designed in order to combine the use of innovative experimental protocols with the need of developing approaches which integrate different fields of biological and environmental research. Consistent with the well-known Dobzhansky’s axiom "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution", all these research fields move in the framework of evolution. They are also strongly interconnected with each other, due to the complex system of structural and functional relationships existing between humans, plants, animals and the abiotic environment. The body of disciplines and fields of research of the Doctoral program fit into in a broad and novel vision of biological research, where natural terrestrial and marine ecosystems are also investigated in relation to their fundamental role of providers of Ecosystem Services (ESs) which contribute significantly to human health and wellbeing, complementing and making more effective the present strategies for natural resource conservation. Teaching experiences and research activities of the PhD students will be developed in an interdisciplinary and internationally competitive context. This will allow our students to achieve a complete professional skill, suitable for system-approach engagements in the environmental context. Curriculum “Ecological Sciences” aims to offer, in the frame of a high postgraduate scientific knowledge, an excellent qualification in the field of environmental complexity. Particular attention is paid to the analysis, monitoring, representation and model simulation of the structural characteristics, mechanisms and processes underlying to the functioning of both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. These studies cover aspects related to the population and community dynamics, processes at the ecosystem level and issues of ecological sustainability and environmental restoration. The basic training of students will be devoted mainly to studies and analyses of the relationships between the biotic and abiotic components of ecosystems. The experimental approach will be aimed at an integrated understanding of the structural and functional aspects that link the different levels of biological organization, from the organism to the landscape. The students will benefit of a theoretical and practical training, aimed at achieving a final thesis on specific issues. Curriculum “Botany" aims to provide experimental knowledge in specialized fields of Botany, covering a wide range of researches, from plant biotechnology innovation for environment and human health. Research fields include plant cell biology and histology, plant pathology, embryology and embryogenesis, plant development and related genomics, geobotany, reproductive biology, paleobotany, palinology, pharmaceutical botany, plant taxonomy and evolution, phycology, mycology, and applied plant sciences. It also involves applications of plant biotechnology and general biology across all industrial sectors. In particular, scholarship includes applications in agriculture, horticulture, pharmaceuticals, phytoremediation, non-food use of plants and industrial crops, and early detection of food quality alterations in relation with and abiotic stresses. The researches carried out in these fields are aimed to preserve plant biodiversity, to improve plant adaptation to environmental changes, and to sustain plant health. Curriculum “Animal Biology” aims at builging skills at the highest professional level on the main topics of modern animal biology. A special focus is devoted to those concerning animal phylogeny, the theory and practice of biological systematics, micro- and macroevolution, the description of the functional level (general morphology and comparative anatomy, of invertebrates and vertebrates) and its interpretation in an adaptive framework. The issues of population biology are also covered, with studies on the genetic structures of populations, the speciation processes, the geographical distribution models, as well as the issues of the structure and dynamics of zoocoenoses, and the implementation of methodologies for conservation and management of natural populations and for the evaluation of the environmental impact. Animal developmental biology is studied with special regards to cytodifferentiation and moprhogenesis, in the framework of gametogenesis, 'embryogenesis, post-embryonic development and regeneration. Curriculum “Anthropology” is concerned with the natural history of the human species, with a focus on the aspects regarding our origins and biological evolution, as seen in the context of the variability of the order Primates and interaction with human cultures and environmental factors. The issues addressed in the curriculum of Anthropology include: the study of the variability of extant and extinct human populations using methods derived from anthropometry and molecular anthropology; the relationships between environmental and cultural factors and genetic structure of human populations; biodemography; archaeo-anthropology or biology of ancient human populations, including paleodemography and paleopathology; the analysis and interpretation of the fossil record in relation to the origins and human evolution; the reconstruction of the history of human settlement during the Quaternary through the study of morphological and molecular markers: the origin and evolution of subsistence strategies and human cultures (in their naturalisitc aspects) and human-environment relations, comparative aspects of ontogenetic development in this case human, in an evo-devo perspective; the study of the systematics, phylogeny and biology of primates, in order to understand the natural history of humans; the ethical implications of anthropology; the applications of anthropological disciplines in the museological field and for educational and scientific dissemination.

PhD Full

Starting date:Nov 01, 2017
Duration:36 months

PhD Sandwich

Starting date: from Nov 01, 2017
Duration: from 3 to 12 months

Postdoc

Starting date: from Nov 01, 2017
Duration: from 3 to 12 months

Master research

Starting date: from Nov 01, 2017
Duration: from 3 to 6 months

Contacts

Academic contact

Martina Vizzani

Institutional contact

Martina Vizzani