Viola Alessandrini

Supervisors: Prof. Iduna Arduini and Prof. Angelino Carta

Research field: Botany

Research interests: alien Invasive species, biodiversity, ecosystem dynamics, functional traits, seed bank ecology

DAFE – University of Pisa, Via del Borghetto n°80, 56124 – Pisa – (IT)

Viola Alessandrini is a PhD student in Applied Botany at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment of the University of Pisa. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Natural Sciences from Sapienza University of Rome and a master’s degree in Conservation and Evolution from the University of Pisa. For her Master’s thesis, she studied the psammophilous habitats present in the dunes of two important protected areas of the Tuscan coast: San Rossore Migliarino Massaciuccoli and the Maremma Regional Parks, with the objective of constructing a comprehensive Coastal Risk Index incorporating geological, socio-economic, cultural, and ecological parameters into an intuitive cartographic representation of coastal risks. The index provides a practical tool for the assessment and management of coastal areas, drawing attention to specific threats helping stakeholders make informed decisions. The publication of this index has been accepted after revision. In 2023, she won a research grant at the Botany Section of the Department of Agriculture, Food, and Environment (University of Pisa) for the digitization of the Historical Herbarium of the Agricultural Institute, where she gained experience in the manipulation and management of ancient herbaria. During the fellowship, she carried out field and laboratory work to assess the impact of the invasive alien species Salpichroa origanifolia (Lam.) Baillon on the soil seed bank of a Mediterranean Mesophile Forest in the San Rossore Regional Park. The results of this study have already been published in the journal Plants. The focus of her PhD research project is the comparative study of morpho-functional traits of allochthonous and native plant species and the effect of invasive species on the biodiversity and dynamics of ecosystems. The aim of her research is to enhance understanding of the ecology of invasive alien species and to provide a scientific foundation for the development of efficient and effective management and conservation measures, especially in the context of climate change scenarios.


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