PhD in Environmental Biology
Hi, thanks for stopping by.
My name is Antonella Petruzzella. I'm an aquatic ecologist. This is my personal website where you can get to know a bit about me, my research trajectory and interests, and my work.
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 aquatic plant ecology.
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.
I'm currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Biological Control (CBC), Rhodes University in South Africa. Here, I investigate the importance of priority effects of native plant species, i.e. the effect of species on the survival and performance of other species depending on the order and timing in which they arrive at a site, and factors affecting its strength in order to enhance ecological resistance of freshwater ecosystems. I hope to guide restoration efforts to maximize the establishment of desired species to curb future invasions.
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.