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fotojpg verniPhD Student
Biology and Evolution of Marine Organisms Department

Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn
Villa Comunale
80121 Naples - Italy

Tel.: 3316134679
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Curriculum Vitae

Director of Studies: Alberto Castelli
Internal Supervisor: Sergio Stefanni
External Supervisor: Joachim Langeneck

Research Interests

Even though the Mediterranean is one of the most investigated marine areas in the world, the deep sea, and in particular its benthic macro- and meiofauna, still remain largely unexplored. The low density of organisms in Mediterranean deep waters is undisputed, but the low number of species and the absence of true endemic species might be a bias due to the scarcity of studies in this area and the use of a coarse taxonomy for in the majority of studies. These unique communities are a clear example where environmental DNA metabarcoding techniques can greatly advance our ability to describe the dynamics and patterns of biodiversity with less effort. Moreover, they improve the ability to unravel the “hidden” biodiversity (e.g., detect rare, cryptic, elusive, and non-native species in the early stage of invasion), which is particularly relevant in the case of remote environments such as the deep-sea, and enable near real-time global census of species The examination of the deep material using integrated taxonomy, combining morphological and molecular data, and the use of high-resolution taxonomy to describe benthic assemblages will allow to identify a higher number of species and a higher degree of endemicity. In this framework polychaetes show the highest abundances in terms of individuals and species among the benthic invertebrates identified in deep-sea samples. Moreover, despite their important role in ecosystem functioning, they are still scarcely studied from a taxonomic and biogeographical point of view.

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