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VirgiliPh. D. Student
Dipartimento di Ecologia Marina Integrata

Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn
Villa Comunale, 80121 Naples - Italy
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Curriculum Vitae

Director of Studies: Angelo Fontana
Internal Supervisor(s): Fabio Crocetta
External Supervisor: Xavier Turon Barrera
Program: University of Naples Federico II, Cycle XXXVIII

Research Interests

My research interests are focused on the integrative taxonomy, ecology and biotechnological applications of ascidians (Tunicata). Ascidians are marine sessile organisms, globally account for more than 3000 species, showing an impressive, albeit understudied, diversity. Ascidians are important members of benthic communities, being able to colonize a wide spectrum of habitats and substrates. Moreover, both solitary and colonial ascidians may undergo population outbreaks which may strongly influence the balance of benthic communities. This, together with the wide tolerance to extreme environmental conditions, made ascidians as one of the most introduced taxon worldwide. As sessile organisms, ascidians produce a wide array of secondary metabolites to compete for the space resource or as defense against predators. Due to these properties, ascidians are considered top source organisms for the research of marine natural products (MNPs). More than 580 MNPs have been extracted from ascidians, and several are already in production as drugs. In this context, the research of MNPs from introduced ascidians may be used to as a valid option to counter their invasion. Moreover, the study of specific secondary metabolites may provide useful information about the taxonomy of these species. The high evolutionary rate of this taxon together with their genome plasticity somewhat complicates the reconstruction of ascidian phylogenies. In this context, a multidisciplinary approach based on chemotaxonomy and phylogenomics could provide new insights on ascidians systematics.

Principali Pubblicazioni

Rizzo L, Minichino R, Virgili R, Tanduo V, Osca D, Manfredonia A, Consoli P, Colloca F, Crocetta F (2022) Benthic litter in the continental slope of the Gulf of Naples (central-western Mediterranean Sea) hosts limited fouling communities but facilitates molluscan spawning. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 181: 113915. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2022.113915

Riccardi A, Colletti A, Virgili R, Cerrano C (2022) Diversity and behavior of sea slugs (Heterobranchia) in the rocky tide pools of Conero Riviera (western Adriatic Sea). The European Zoological Journal, 89(1): 856-869. doi:10.1080/24750263.2022.2095047

Tanduo V, Virgili R, Crocetta F. (2022). Integrative taxonomy confirms the presence of the enigmatic Lysmata olavoi Fransen, 1991 (Decapoda: Lysmatidae) in the Mediterranean Sea. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 102(3-4), 260-265. doi: 10.1017/S0025315422000455

Virgili R, Tanduo V, Katsanevakis S, Terlizzi F, Villani G, Fontana A, Crocetta F. (2022). The Miseno Lake (Central-Western Mediterranean Sea): An Overlooked Reservoir of Non-Indigenous and Cryptogenic Ascidians in a Marine Reserve. Frontiers in Marine Science. 9:866906. doi:10.3389/fmars.2022.866906

Kytinou E, Zotou M, Virgili R, Crocetta V, Katsanevakis S. (2022). The Indo-Pacific nudibranch Baeolidia moebii Bergh, 1888 in Greece, with the first documented spawning aggregation in the Mediterranean Sea. BioInvasions Records. 11 (2): 461–472. doi:10.3391/bir.2022.11.2.19

Della Sala G, Coppola D, Virgili R, Vitale GA, Tanduo V, Teta R, Crocetta F, De Pascale D. (2022). Identification and Metabolomics of Botrylloides niger Herdman, 1886 (Ascidiacea: Styelidae), a non-indigenous species invading the Mediterranean Sea. Frontiers in Marine Science. 9, 865751. doi:10.3389/fmars.2022.865751

Tanduo V, Virgili R, Osca D, Crocetta F. (2021). Hiding in Fouling Communities: a Native Spider Crab Deco-rating with a Cryptogenic Bryozoan in a Mediterranean. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering. 9(5):495. doi:10.3390/jmse9050495

Crocetta F, Shokouros-Oskarsson M, Doumpas N, Giovos I, Kalogirou S, Langeneck J, Tanduo V, Tiralongo F, Virgili R, Kleitou P. (2021). Protect the Natives to Combat the Aliens: Could Octopus vulgaris Cuvier, 1797 Be a Natural Agent for the Control of the Lionfish Invasion in the Mediterranean Sea? Journal of Marine Science and Engineering. 9(3):308. doi:10.3390/jmse9030308

Virgili R, Cerrano C, Ponti M, Lasut MT, Reimer JD. (2020). Crinoid diversity and their symbiotic communities at Bangka Island (North Sulawesi, Indonesia). Marine Biodiversity. 50, 90. doi:10.1007/s12526-020-01097-1

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