Curriculum “Ecological Sciences”

(Curriculum coordinator: Prof. Giandomenico Ardizzone)

The "Ecological Sciences" Curriculum of the Ph.D. in "Environmental and Evolutionary Biology" aims to offer, in the frame of a high postgraduate scientific knowledge, an excellent qualification in the field of environmental complexity. Particular attention is paid to the analysis, monitoring, representation and model simulation of the structural characteristics, mechanisms and processes underlying to the functioning of both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The PhD aims to train highly qualified professionals, able of performing both basic and applied researches and planning in the field of the Ecological Sciences, also in implementation of national and international regulations. These studies cover aspects related to the population and community dynamics, processes at the ecosystem level and issues of ecological sustainability and environmental restoration. The basic common training of students, during the first year, will be devoted mainly to studies and analyses of the relationships between the biotic and abiotic components of ecosystems. The experimental approach will be aimed at an integrated understanding of the structural and functional aspects that link the different levels of biological organization, from the organism to the landscape. The subsequent phases will provide a joint path of theoretical and practical training, accompanied by a final thesis on specific issues in relation to the research developed by the student.

Curriculum “Botany”

(Curriculum coordinator Prof.-ssa M.M. Altamura)

The Curriculum is aimed to provide experimental knowledge in specialized fields of Botany, covering a wide range of researches, from plant biotechnology innovation for environment and human health. Research fields include plant cell biology and histology, plant pathology, embryology and embryogenesis, plant development and related genomics, geobotany, reproductive biology, paleobotany, palinology, pharmaceutical botany, plant taxonomy and evolution, phycology, mycology, and applied plant sciences. It also involves applications of plant biotechnology and general biology across all industrial sectors. In particular, scholarship includes applications in agriculture, horticulture, pharmaceuticals, phytoremediation, non-food use of plants and industrial crops, and early detection of food quality alterations in relation with and abiotic stresses. The researches carried out in these fields are aimed to preserve plant biodiversity, to improve plant adaptation to environmental changes, and to sustain plant health.

The Postgraduated Research Degree in the curriculum of “Botany” prepares qualified plant researchers for Scientific and Technological Institutions, who are able to work in autonomy and to manage innovative researches.

Curriculum “Animal Biology”

(Curriculum coordinator:Prof. Paolo Audisio)

In the framework of the Doctorate in Environmental and Evolutionary Biology, the Curriculum in “Animal Biology” aims at builging skills at the highest professional level on the main topics of modern animal biology. A special focus is devoted to those concerning animal phylogeny, the theory and practice of biological systematics, micro- and macroevolution, the description of the functional level (general morphology and comparative anatomy, of invertebrates and vertebrates) and its interpretation in an adaptive framework. The issues of population biology are also covered, with studies on the genetic structures of populations, the speciation processes, the geographical distribution models, as well as the issues of the structure and dynamics of zoocoenoses, and the implementation of methodologies for conservation and management of natural populations and for the evaluation of the environmental impact. Animal developmental biology is studied with special regards to cytodifferentiation and moprhogenesis, in the framework of gametogenesis, 'embryogenesis, post-embryonic development and regeneration.

Curriculum “Anthropology”

(Curriculum coordinator: Prof. G. Destro-Bisol)

The Anthropology Curriculum is concerned with the natural history of the human species, with a focus on the aspects regarding our origins and biological evolution, as seen in the context of the variability of the order Primates and interaction with human cultures and environmental factors.
The issues addressed in the curriculum of Anthropology include: the study of the variability of extant and extinct human populations using methods derived from anthropometry and molecular anthropology; the relationships between environmental and cultural factors and genetic structure of human populations; biodemography; archaeo-anthropology or biology of ancient human populations, including paleodemography and paleopathology; the analysis and interpretation of the fossil record in relation to the origins and human evolution; the reconstruction of the history of human settlement during the Quaternary through the study of morphological and molecular markers: the origin and evolution of subsistence strategies and human cultures (in their naturalisitc aspects) and human-environment relations, comparative aspects of ontogenetic development in this case human, in an evo-devo perspective; the study of the systematics, phylogeny and biology of primates, in order to understand the natural history of humans; the ethical implications of anthropology; the applications of anthropological disciplines in the museological field and for educational and scientific dissemination.