Francesca De Giorgi (PhD Student)
Department for Physiological Diversity
German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv)
Biodiversity loss has lately been the focus of many studies trying to understand its present and future consequences. It is already appreciated that biodiversity effects on ecosystem functioning acquire strength over time and, in this framework, I am interested in the role of evolutionary processes for plant species responses to plant community diversity, plant history and soil history.
The aim of the project is therefore to measure evolutionary responses of plant species both at the phenotypic and molecular level in order to test whether these are heritable and adaptive and if they are linked to genetic and epigenetic differences.
An important and fascinating aspect of the project is the study of the role of epigenetics in evolutionary processes. I am interested in understanding to which level epigenetic variation is under genetic control as well as its level of heritability and reversibility.
For this purpose, I will conduct a Field Phytometer Experiment with nine species’ offspring of 17-year old plant diverse communities to test for adaptive phenotypic responses and an Ecotron Phytometer Experiment with some genotypes of the model species Plantago lanceolata selected in low- and high-diversity communities to test for adaptive phenotypic plasticity and epigenetic variation in the actual growth environment. I will also study evolutionary response to plant diversity at the genetic, epigenetic and phenotypic level conducting a common garden experiment with the apomictic model species Taraxacum officinale.
02/2020 - to date
PhD student at Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ/German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Postgraduate internship at ISEM-Institute of Science De L’evolution De Montpellier, Montpellier, France
Master thesis internship at NTNU-Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.Thesis topic: Is there more in within-individual variation in seed size than developmental instability?
M.Sc. in Evolutionary Biology at University of Padova, Italy
B.Sc. in Biology at University of Padova, Italy