Dottorato PhD Course in Environmental and Evolutionary Biology

The course PhD in Environmental and EvolutionaryBiology, activated from XXVIII cycle as unification of the two pre-existing and distinct Doctorates of Environmental Biology (in turn divided into two curricula of Botanical Sciences and Ecological Sciences) and Animal Biology, conducts its business training, teaching, research and administration in full compliance with "Regulations on PhD" issued by the Central Offices of the University of Rome "Sapienza". The PhD in "Environmental and Evolutionary Biology" in four curricula: "Ecological science", "Botanical Sciences", "Animal Biology" and "Anthropology", aims to offer, in the training of excellence, a scientific qualification in the areas of biology that include as many as 10 SSD (BIO / 01, 02,03,05, 06, 07,08, 15, AGR12 and CHIM/01) and 43 experts who belong to both biological departments of the University, Environmental Biology and Biology and Biotechnology "C. Darwin".

Students of the doctoral program attending full-time courses, seminars, research laboratories and are encouraged to carry out research at universities and international research centers of recognized value.

The four curricula making part of the Doctoral Program in Environmental and Evolutionary Biology, resulting from the previous PhDs in Botanical Sciences, Ecological Sciences, Animal Biology, but also including the new curriculum in Anthropology, have been designed in order to combine the use of innovative experimental protocols with the need of developing approaches which integrate different fields of biological and environmental research. They cover a wide range of topics: taxonomy and systematics, morpho-anatomy, human paleontology and anthropology, molecular genetics, evolutionary biology, biochemistry and physiology, applied biology, ecology, ethology, conservation biology and ecological modeling. Consistent with the well-known Dobzhansky’s axiom "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution", all these research fields move in the framework of evolution. They are also strongly interconnected with each other, due to the complex system of structural and functional relationships existing between humans, plants, animals and the abiotic environment. The body of disciplines and fields of research of the Doctoral program fit into in a broad and novel vision of biological research, where natural terrestrial and marine ecosystems are also investigated in relation to their fundamental role of providers of Ecosystem Services (ESs) which contribute significantly to human wellness, complementing and making more effective the present strategies for natural resource conservation. It is recognized by the European Biodiversity Strategy, and by a lot of experiences on land management, that project plans based on the recovery and restoration of habitats, and natural processes, are much more effective in terms of losses/profits than those insisting on merely technological approaches. In this new framework, the scientific community has become aware of the importance of counteracting environmental degradation by a concerted analysis of all the structural parameters involved, e.g., morpho- functional and evolutionary flora, fauna and other natural components of biodiversity, including human populations. This integrated approach will take into consideration the processes of ecosystem functioning, their relationships with demographic and environmental changes, and all possible integrated solutions for preservation and recovery of natural ecosystems and landscape. In order to properly manage and use land resources, and design innovative projects as well, a number of integrated wide-ranging skills need to be developed. They come from the analysis of flora and fauna, and the definition of their taxonomic and systematic status, to a comparative analysis at different levels of observation (morphological, anatomical, biochemical, chorological, reproductive and populational), up to an integrated biological defense approach, and the identification and use of biologically active products obtained from renewable sources.

In this holistic vision, teaching experiences and research activities of the PhD students will be developed in an interdisciplinary and internationally competitive context. This will allow our students to achieve a complete professional skill, suitable for system-approach engagements in the environmental context.