University of Naples - Federico II

Department of Structural and Functional Biology

via Cinthia Monte Sant’Angelo bld 7

tel e fax +39 081 679130

Research

Alectoris graeca

The Rock Partridge is a mountain species endemic to south Italian Apennine, linked to dry agro-pastoral mountains with heathland, grass and low scrub, rocky escarpments or crags. Landscape modifications in last years have drastically transformed its habitat and consequently threatened the plant and animal life. Rock Partridge is an indicator of the effect of this transformation (abandonment of traditional mountain activities) loss of diversity and fragmentation of natural population.

Sus scrofa

Wild boar is an invasive species, characterised by a complex phylogeography, related to human story and agricultural activity. Wild boar populations are models used for studying of different topics. In particular, we are doing phylogenetic analysis of Italian population, characterised by glacial refugium condition, but influenced by human translocation activity  too. Human actions on this species is touchable by domestication process that generated the pig, by the effect of strong artificial selection.

Genetic characteristic of wild and domestic form could show the evolutive process, that is developed in the last 10.000 years of human history. Moreover we are studying intensively the wild boar sociobiology, because family groups are usually influenced by hunting/poaching actions and they highlight important anomalies in behaviour.

Podarcis sicula

Lacertids in general and Podarcis sicula in particular, is a good model for evolutionary traiectories and selection studies. In island populations we can observe important morphologic changes in short evolutive time, related not only to the size and shape of the body, but also to the digestive and locomotor apparatuses, the behaviour and body coloration. 

Podarcis sicula population and its melanic subspecies Podarcis sicula klemmeri are a good basis for the study of this modifications, directly linked to the natural selection, and for the study of relation by Insular Syndrome to difference between insular and continental populations.

Tarentola mauritanica

In this species we are studying chromatic in relation to criptism linked to activity rhythms, thermic and hormonal conditions. Our analyses may show mechanism act on the population structure and detectable using ipervariable molecular markers.

We are actually doing comparative ethology experiment on insular and continental samples, as well as reproductive experiment and genetic analyses focusing on causes of particular coloration of lizard population from Mediterranean islets.

Our research addresses questions in molecular phylogeography, biogeography, systematics, life-history evolution, and phylogenetic comparative methods, mostly using wildlife fauna of vertebrate (reptile, birds and mammals, in particular). A running thread of this research is recovering patterns and processes responsible for the origin, maintenance and spread of biodiversity across space and time using interdisciplinary approaches. We are particularly interested in genetic approaches to studying the influence of selection on the evolutionary trajectories in populations and species.