Stefania Milano

I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Biology at Università Politecnica delle Marche (Ancona, Italy) focusing on marine ecology and oceanography. In 2011, as part of my final dissertation, I participated in a coral reef ecology expedition on Bangka Island (Indonesia). The aim of my thesis was to identify negative effects and threats to hard and soft coral caused by artificial sunscreens dissolved in the aquatic environment.

For my Master’s degree thesis in Marine Biology I moved to the South Australian Museum in Adelaide. There I was researching Tursiops aduncus ecology and life history using biomineralized tissues (teeth) analysis.

After the conclusion of my thesis I decided to spend more time in Australia and I collaborated with other working groups in the University of Melbourne (Stuart-Fox lab), University of Western Australia (Hemmi lab) and Macquarie University (Brown lab), working on different research areas related to both marine and terrestrial ecology.

In February 2014, after coming back to Europe, I successfully graduated. In April 2014 I started my ARAMACC PhD project at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz (Germany).

ARAMACC PhD project: Exploring the potential of shell crystal fabrics as novel environmental proxies

The aim of my project consists in analyzing microstructures of different bivalve species in relation to environmental variables. Shells provide information not only about animal metabolism, but also about surrounding habitat, since their deposition can be influenced by external parameters. Identifying the relationship between microstructures and environment fluctuations will lead to the development of new proxies which will represent a significant step for palaeoclimatic reconstructions based on sclerochronology.

The variety of species that will be analyzed includes common bivalves from the NE Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea such as Cerastoderma edule, Pecten spp., Astarte spp., Glycymeris spp. and Arctica islandica. Crystal fabrics will be studied with SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy), an innovative approach in the bivalve sclerochronology field.

Major accomplishments expected include detection of changes in microstructures such as differences in the orientation, size, shape, habit and elemental composition. In the future, these proxies will be used for reconstructions of environmental fluctuations in the marine domain.