personal details and activity: People
After obtaining a PhD in Agricultural Entomology, I oriented my research activity in the field of sustainable protection of agricultural crops from phytophagous insects. Over time, I have deepened my studies on some aspects of the insect biology and ecology, on the systematics and taxonomy of some insect groups and on the symbiotic interactions between insects and bacteria. Among the insect pests under study, the invasive species are those on which I have focused my attention in recent years. In particular, the whitefly Bemisia tabaci, the tomato borer Tuta absoluta, the spotted wings fruit fly Drosophila suzukii and recently the brown marmorated stink bug Halyomorpha halys. My main lines of research are:
– characterization by an integrative approach (morphological, molecular, phylogenetic, bioecological, karyological) of insect populations, with particular reference to parasitoid Hymenoptera, as biological control agents;
– biosystematics and taxonomy of some groups of parasitoid Hymenoptera, with particular reference to the Aphelinidae (natural enemies of whiteflies and scale insects) and to the antagonists of Drosophila suzukii and other Drosophilids;
– reproductive biology, ecology and behavior of parasitoid Hymenoptera;
– development of crop protection strategies against insect pests based on the use of natural antagonisms, through the conservation and/or increase of the populations of entomophagous insects (classical and augmentative biological control with parasitoids and predators);
– impact of endosymbiotic bacteria on reproduction, bio-ecology, adaptation to environmental stress factors, evolution and speciation of host insects, including pests and parasitoid Hymenoptera.