Foto del docente

Alessia Cariani

Professoressa associata

Dipartimento di Scienze Biologiche, Geologiche e Ambientali

Settore scientifico disciplinare: BIO/05 ZOOLOGIA


Argomenti di tesi proposti dal docente.


The proposed thesis topics will be dealing with different approaches and analysis techniques using standard molecular markers as well as “omic” data derived from Next Generation Sequencing platforms (i.e., single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs). Thus, the use of basic software for genetic data computing and bioinformatics will be requested to accomplish the thesis projects.

Population genomics and traceability of marine fish

Evolution, systematics and conservation of cartilaginous fish


Topic: Connectivity in a deep-water fish over large distance: phylogeographic assessment of Pagellus bogaraveo in Mediterranean and Atlantic waters

Thesis Project Aim: The intrinsic discrepancy existing between the definition of fish stock units and the structure of biological populations, emphasizes the urgent need of obtaining genetic data to be integrated with other available sources of information and implementing efficient management strategies of wild fishery resources. Blackspot seabream Pagellus bogaraveo (Brünnich, 1768) is a commercially valuable deep-water fish heavily exploited in the past decade. Analysis of individuals collected from different fishing grounds in the Mediterranean Sea and adjacent Atlantic Ocean will be directed to investigate the species’ connectivity across almost all the species’ dispersal area.

Info: Martina Spiga [] ; Alice Ferrari []

Topic: Molecular approach to stock structure boundaries: implications for fisheries management of round sardinella, Sardinella aurita (Valenciennes 1847), in the eastern Mediterranean Sea

Thesis Project Aim: Small pelagic fisheries represent an important contribution to the wide field of social-economic resources, especially for those onshore countries deeply dependent on marine resources. This is the case of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, where the support for the development of regionally-consistent fisheries management plans among countries has been planned since 2009 (FAO EastMed [] ). Among the commercially interesting species, sardines from the genus Sardinella are one of the most important wild resources to local fisheries. Analysis of S. aurita at microsatellite loci will complement the existing ongoing international effort to delineate connectivity dynamics and barriers to dispersal.

Possible collaboration with prof. Emre Keskin at Ankara University, Turkey

Info: Alice Ferrari []

Topic: Study on DNA metabarcoding to investigate biotic aspects of fisheries catches in the Mediterranean.

Thesis Project Aim: This project aims to assess the accuracy of the eDNA metabarcoding approach to reconstruct the composition of catches obtained from fishing vessels. The effectiveness of multiple potential sources of environmental DNA to ultimately predict species abundance/biomass based on their relative amount of collected DNA will be tested. The possibility of simplifying the eDNA collection onboard fishing vessels using a new sampling strategy will be explored with easy, cheap, and rapid sampling procedures that could be associated with the activity of fishermen at sea. This would allow to use commercial fishing vessels as widely ranging data-collecting platforms, which could act as a fleet of sentinels for monitoring marine life, in particular exploited stocks.

Info: Alice Ferrari [] ; Alessia Cariani []

Topic: Estimates of diversity and differentiation of Sepia officinalis populations in the Adriatic to support stock assessment and sustainable management of the resource.

Thesis Project Aim: Common cuttlefish in the Adriatic Sea do seasonal ontogenic migration. In spring, it moves coastward to reproduce. Cuttlefish is semelparous (although many alternatives theory are still to be confirmed/denied), so the adults die soon after the spawning event. The eggs are attached to the substratum and the hatchlings are already benthic, limiting the larval dispersal potential. Juveniles use coastal areas as nursery and undergo a period of rapid growth before beginning their autumn migration offshore to the deeper parts of the Adriatic Sea. Basing on the bathymetric and oceanographic characteristics of the basin, it is reasonable to hypothesize a certain degree of isolation for the offshore wintering areas. To test this hypothesis, individuals were collected in four areas during the fall/winter period, so before the start of the onshore migration occurring in spring. Samples will be analysed at mitochondrial and nuclear markers to estimate the diversity and differentiation of geographical populations. This research project is in collaboration with Department of Marine Studies, University of Split and National Research Council, Institute for Biological Resources and Marine Biotechnologies (CNR-IRBIM).

Info: Alice Ferrari [] ; Ilaria Guarniero


 Suitable candidate must have:

- Availability from April 2022

- Interest in ecology, evolution, and conservation of marine fish

- Accomplished the course of “Struttura e connettivita' delle popolazioni marine” and possibly “Disegni sperimentali e analisi dati”; better if the student has taken the course of R.

- Good English writing skills: thesis will be written in English with the aim to publish suitable outcomes.