Academic Bio

I graduated in 2016 with a B.A. (Hons) in Natural Sciences at La Sapienza University of Rome, after which I moved to the UK where I started a Master of Research in Tropical Forest Ecology at Imperial College London (Silwood Park). Supervised by Dr. Joe Tobias, for my thesis I studied the territorial interactions of two sympatric Warbling Antbirds in the Peruvian Amazon: the Peruvian Warbling Antbird (Hypocnemis peruviana) and the Yellow-breasted Warbling Antbird (H. subflava).

After completion of the MRes in 2018, I moved to the Behavioural Ecology and Evolution lab at University of Cyprus, where under the supervision of Dr. Alexander Kirschel I currently study the genetic and environmental drivers of song variation in a species complex whose songs are innate: the Pogoniulus tinkerbirds. Specifically, I aim to understand what environmental factors affect variation of song pitch and pace as well as identify genomic regions that underpin such characters in tinkerbirds.

Our goal in the lab is also to understand the role that phenotypic traits play in species recognition among related species. We study the interactions of the Yellow (P. chrysoconus) and Red-fronted tinkerbird (P. pusillus) that meet at several contact zones across the African continent. Different subspecies meet at each contact zone and the outcome of their interactions varies among contact zones, ranging from no interbreeding to rampant hybridisation. Given this exceptional opportunity, we aim to quantify the extent to which song and feather colour divergence mediate hybridisation and speciation across the continent using advanced genomic and statistical methods.

Locally, we are also interested in understanding the extent of competition between the endemic Cyprus warbler (Sylvia melanothorax) and the Sardinian warbler (S. melanocephala), with the latter being a recent colonizer of Cyprus.