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Federica Costantini

Associate Professor

Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences

Academic discipline: BIO/07 Ecology


Keywords: marine invertebrates connectivity larval dispersal population genetic

My research interests focus on population genetics and molecular systematic of coastal marine invertebrates for biodiversity conservation and management purposes. I am interested 1) to evaluate how anthropogenic impacts alter the genetic make-up of the populations; 2) to identify common barriers to gene flow for biodiversity conservation and 3) to identify management and conservation units in harvested species.

My studies have mainly focused on the use of molecular genetic techniques in conservation and sustainable management of the overexploited Corallium rubrum (red coral). During my PhD I developed microsatellite loci for the study of the genetic structure in Mediterranean populations of red coral. Past and on-going research projects include national funded projects for the conservation and management of this resource. The outcomes of the studies have been taken in account by the GFMC (FAO) to implement management plans for the harvesting of the species. Moreover, I am interested on the impact of changes in connectivity related to the alteration of coastal seascape (e.g. introduction of artificial habitats; gas platform) among populations of sessile and sedentary invertebrates. In the last years, I focused on the evaluation of vertical pattern of genetic connectivity in Mediterranean gorgonian populations (e.g. Corallium rubrum, Eunicella singularis; Paramuricea clavata) to understand how depth—the third dimension of the marine environment—may affect population structure and dynamics as well as connectivity patterns and genetic diversity. I have worked in a variety of marine coastal environments, including rocky shores, submarine caves, marine urban habitats, artificial coastal and offshore structures. In fact, in addition to gorgonians, I also worked on other marine invertebrates (e.g. Parazoanthus axinellae, Patella caerulea, Halocynthia papillosa, Pomatoceros triqueteres) using innovative genetic and genomic tools (e.g. microsatellite loci, mitochondrial DNA sequences and SNP markers obtained using NGS approaches) at different spatial scales (Mediterranean, regional and local).

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