Francesca Gizzi


Visiting PhD student



"After that magic moment when my eyes were opened to the sea, I was no longer able to see, think and live as before."
Jacques-Yves Cousteau

Therefore, I started to study marine biology, in particular the corals, which have a great ecological, structural and social importance and are the most biodiverse marine ecosystems on the planet. Unfortunately, coral reefs are extremely delicate and vulnerable to environmental changes, e.g. ocean warming and ocean acidification.

Research Interests

During my MSc in the Marine Science Group at University of Bologna (UNIBO) I studied the influence of temperature and solar radiation on sexual reproduction of solitary zooxanthellate Mediterranean corals along a latitudinal gradient. In my PhD I continued the studies on the effect of climate change on corals. In particular, I am researching the influence of ocean acidification on sexual reproduction in three Mediterranean corals transplanted along a natural carbon dioxide gradient. At the same time I am studying the biomineralization process and skeletal characteristics of Mediterranean and Red Sea corals in collaboration with Department of Chemistry of UNIBO. Thanks to Chris Voolstra I had the possibility to visit KAUST where I am transferring my knowledge to the Red Sea and learning new techniques.

Selected Publications

  • Biomineralization in Mediterranean corals: The role of the intra-skeletal organic matrix.
    Reggi M, Fermani S, Landi V, Sparla F, Caroselli E, Gizzi F, Dubinsky Z, Levi O, Cuif JP, Dauphin Y, Goffredo S, Falini G (2014)
    Crystal Growth & Design. doi: 10.1021/cg5003572
  • Reproductive efficiency of a Mediterranean endemic zooxanthellate coral decreases with increasing temperature along a wide latitudinal gradient.
    PLoS ONE, 9: e91792. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091792

Research Interests Keywords

Marine ecology Marine microbiology