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fiorito grazianoSenior Scientist
Biology and Evolution of Marine Organisms Department

Tel. +39 081 5833303
Fax: +39 081 7641355
e-mail graziano.fiorito(at)szn.it

Download Curriculum Vitae

Research interests

We study the cephalopod mollusc Octopus vulgaris to investigate how neural circuitry controls complex behaviour including individual and social learning.
The octopus provides a unique invertebrate "model" because:
1) it exhibits behavioral flexibility rivalling that of higher vertebrates;
2) its brain is considered less complex than those of vertebrates, but achieve similar organization of the neural connectome;
3) it shows marked inter-individual differences in behavioral responses possibly driven by different factors including neural "properties" and experience.

Together with other cephalopod species, octopuses are the sole representatives of an invertebrate taxon included in the list of regulated species after Directive 2010/63/EU.

Our research is focused on understanding the machinery, including epigenetical changes, through which behavioral and neural plasticity (e.g. social influence and behavior, regeneration, neural modulation) is transduced into cellular and molecular changes. We use techniques from classic behavioural approaches to neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, immunohistochemistry, in-situ hybridization and molecular approaches to discover how the brain modulates behavior and it is influenced by individual experience. We promote and provide state-of-art, best-practice approaches to animal welfare in scientific research.

We are committed to create a set of community-based resources and guidance for the use of cephalopods as experimental animals following Directive 2010/63/EU.

Our final hope is, to provide the ground knowledge necessary to promote a renewed interest in comparative studies on brain evolution due to exceptional position of cephalopods in the Three of Life.

Journal Papers

Ponte G, Fiorito G, 2015. Immunohistochemical Analysis of Neuronal Networks in the Nervous System of Octopus vulgaris. Immunocytochemistry and Related Techniques, 63-79

Zarrella I., Ponte G., Baldascino E., Fiorito G. (2015). Learning and memory in octopuses: a case of biological plasticity. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 35: 74–79

Amodio P, Andrews PLR, Salemme M, Ponte G, Fiorito G, 2014. The Use of Artificial Crabs for Testing Predatory Behavior and Health in the octopus. ALTEX 31 (4), 494-499

Josef N, Amodio P, Fiorito G, Shashar N., 2012. Camouflaging in a complex environment. Octopuses use specific features of their surroundings for background matching. PloS one 7 (5) e37579

Shomrat T, Graindorge N, Bellanger C, Fiorito G, Loewenstein Y, and Hochner B, 2011. Alternative Sites of Synaptic Plasticity in Two Homologous "Fan-out Fan-in" Learning and Memory Networks. Current Biology, 21: 1-10.

Tricarico E, Borrelli L, Gherardi F, Fiorito G, 2011. I Know My Neighbour: Individual Recognition in Octopus vulgaris. Plos One, 6(4): e18710.

Borrelli L, Fiorito G, 2008. Behavioral Analysis of Learning and Memory in: Cephalopods. In: Menzel RVE, editors. Learning and Memory: A Comprehensive Reference. Elsevier, UK, pp. 605-627.

Shomrat T, Zarrella I, Fiorito G, Hochner B, 2008. The octopus vertical lobe modulates short-term learning rate and uses LTP to acquire long-term memory. Current Biology, 18(5): 337-342.

Sumbre G, Fiorito G, Flash T, Hochner B, 2005. Motor control of flexible octopus arms. Nature 433: 595-596.

Sumbre G, Gutfreund Y, Fiorito G, Flash T, Hochner B, 2001. Control of octopus arm extension by a peripheral motor program. Science 293: 1845-1848.

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