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Biotic consequences of glacier retreat: community dynamics and ecosystem functioning

informazioni
Date
24/04/2018
Time
15:30-17:30
Where
Aula Magna dell'Università della Montagna - Aula Virtuale
Speaker
Francesco Ficetola, Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche e Ambientali - UNIVERSITÀ DEGLI STUDI DI MILANO
Language
Italiano
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Description

Global warming is causing a progressive melting of the glaciers and their retreat is freeing large areas of land where life is beginning to develop. The goal of this research is to understand how colonization of deglaciated areas by bacteria, plants and animals occurs, and to analyze the environmental dynamics that lead to the recreation of ecosystems full of biodiversity where before there was nothing. As observed also in the Alps, in fact, when a glacier retreats, this leaves behind only gravel and rocks, which progressively begin to be colonized by life forms. In some cases, very dense forests can also develop within a century and a half after glacier retreat.

The seminar will show how the analysis of environmental DNA allows a quick and complete analysis of the colonization that occurs following glacier retreat. Traditionally, the study of the organisms living in these areas has been carried out through the study of individual living species, which requires even years of research for each individual glacier. Through environmental DNA technology, instead, samples of soil are taken and the traces of DNA present within, which belong to all animal and plant species that have come into contact with that ground, are analyzed. This allows a quick and complete assessment of how colonization occurs in glaciers all over the world, from the Andes to the mountains of Asia.

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