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Nocella Phd webpage SZNPh. D. Student
Dipartimento di Biologia ed Evoluzione Organismi Marini

Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn
Villa Comunale
80121 Naples - Italy
Tel.: +39 0649914307
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Curriculum Vitae


Director of Studies
: Maria Vittoria Modica (SZN)
External Supervisor: Marco Oliverio (Sapienza Un.)
Program: XXXVI cycle

Research Interests

My research activity stems from the collaboration between Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn and Sapienza Università di Roma. My PhD project is focused on three distinct lineages of corallivorus gastropod belonging to the Subclass Caenogastropoda: Ovulidae, Epitoniidae and Coralliophilinae. They are associated respectively with Octocorallia, Hexacorallia, and both. These snails are equipped with one or two pairs of salivary glands that discharge at the proboscis tip inactivating cnidarian venom components. Very few information is available on this predator-prey relationship at the species level, especially for deep-water taxa that tend to detach from their host upon collection. The overarching aim of my project is to elucidate the evolutionary role of predator-prey interactions in generating species diversity and adaptations. This main objective will be pursued through two tiers: first, clarify the levels of specificity of predator-prey relationship and the evolutionary history of corallivory in snails, through a macroevolutionary approach; second, unravel how this trophic adaptation is functionally achieved using a proteotranscriptomic approach on selected secretory tissues. This project will allow me to identify both in predators and preys untapped venom compounds with potential applications, worth of further investigation to characterize their activities.

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