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ANTONELLA PETRUZZELLA

PhD in Environmental Biology

ABOUT ME

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Hi, thanks for stopping by.

My name is Antonella Petruzzella. I'm a freshwater ecologist. This is my personal website where you can get to know a bit about me, my research trajectory and interests.

My research focuses on understanding how freshwater biodiversity, ecosystem structure, function and services recover after anthropogenic stressors (e.g. plant invasions, eutrophication). I'm particularly interested in efforts to improve the results of management and restoration actions to promote the recovery of functions and services provided by freshwater systems. I use a combination of controlled experiments, field surveys and modelling techniques to answer my research questions.

I always wanted to be a scientist. I joined the Laboratory of Limnology at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil already during the first year of my bachelor in Biological Sciences. During my undergraduate studies, I was interested in methane and CO2 dynamics and its controlling factors in tropical coastal lagoons. As aquatic plants are an important factor to the dynamic of these gases, often I used to find myself in the middle of these plant stands in the field. It was there that I asked the question that drove my master’s research: “Does herbivore damage increases methane emissions from emergent aquatic plants?” This study brought a new perspective to the influence of herbivory on carbon cycling. During my masters, I also worked as a researcher assistant in Amazonia expanding my knowledge and passion on freshwater ecology and aquatic plants. 

For my PhD, I moved to the Netherlands to work under the supervision of Prof. dr. Liesbeth S. Bakker, Dr Casper H. A. van Leeuwen and Prof. dr. Ellen van Donk at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW). My doctoral research focused on improving our understanding of the biotic mechanisms (e.g. competition and herbivory) underlying the establishment success of alien aquatic plants in tropical and temperate ecosystems. Most of the invasion ecology theory was developed in terrestrial systems, whereas only few studies explored the topic in freshwater ecosystems. Thus, my research was pioneering in its testing of several plant invasion ecology hypotheses in freshwater systems. 

From 2019 to 2023, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Biological Control (CBC- Rhodes University) in South Africa.

I also love to travel, go camping, rock climbing, hiking, running, mountain biking, cooking and so on... In love with life, science, aquatic plants and beer.

PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

ACHIEVING THE GOAL "MORE NATIVES, LESS INVASIVES": PRIORITY EFFECTS AS A POTENTIAL TOOL FOR RESTORATION

November 29, 2021

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