MARIA CRISTINA BRUNO
Dr. Bruno is a permanent researcher at FEM/CRI in the Hydrobiology group. She has been working for more than 20 years in Italy and abroad on groundwater and surface water ecosystems, focussing her activity on the ecology, zoology and biogeography of invertebrate communities, from different habitats: karstic systems, hyporheic and benthic habitat in streams, and littoral marine interstitial. In the last decade, she has been concentrating her activity on alpine and mountain streams and rivers, analysing the ecological effects of the alterations of flow, temperature, and sediment regimes, due to anthropic uses and climate change. In her activity, she combines the classical biological research methods to study of aquatic biodiversity with the application of ecohydrological approaches in the field, in mesocosms, and in habitat simulations.
- Analysis of the main biotic and abiotic drivers of stream ecology in natural and experimental conditions;
- Development of tools for the multifunctional use of water resources;
- Development of methods and metrics to define Environmental Flows;
- Conservation of endangered aquatic taxa, and control of alien invasive species;
- Ecology of high altitude streams;
- River restoration;
- Groundwater ecology;
- Taxonomy, systematic and biogeography of groundwater Copepoda.
Current research activity
- Ecological-flows: to develop new index/ices and methodologies, built on monitoring/field biological and hydromorphological data that are specifically sensitive to hydrological alterations, to determine and monitor the ecological flows in Italy.
- Effects of climate change on high elevation aquatic habitats: assess the ecological shifts of stream ecosystems in deglaciating alpine areas, by disentangling the effects of permafrost and glacial melt on water chemistry, biology and ecological functions of Alpine headwaters.
- Effects of supraseasonal droughts on diversity and processes of mountain streams: to explore the impact of intermittence in previously-perennial Alpine stream reaches, considering biodiversity, taxonomic and functional aspects, in particular, aiming to assess the role of the hyporheic zone in increasing the resilience of these aquatic systems to drought, and the exchanges between surface and hyporheic habitats.
- Species conservation: The Management Plan of the native crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes in Trentino, developed in 2017, provides a global approach to the conservation and restoration of this species, whose populations in Trentino have been greatly reduced in the last 50 years, due to the decline of their habitat, and the introduction of alien species which carry the crayfish plague. Practical actions (monitoring, control of alien species, exc) will be conducted, according to the Plan, to improve the conservation status of A. pallipes.
- Biodiversity: study of the taxonomy and systematic of groundwater copepods with morphological and biomolecular techniques.
Researcher ID: B-8117-2015
Scopus ID: 7202869948
- April 2017 to present: National Scientific Qualification – Associate Professor, Sector 05/C1 Ecology.
- 2008 to present: Researcher, Fondazione Edmund Mach, Research and Innovation Centre.
- 2006-2008: Researcher, Museo Tridentino di Scienze Naturali - Sezione di Zoologia degli Invertebrati e Idrobiologia, project REPORT: guidelines for an eco-compatible management of discharge and river dynamics.
- 2004-2007: Adjunct Professor, University “della Tuscia”, Viterbo, Italy, Biology and Environmental Sciences faculties. Teaching activity: Biogeografia; Laboratorio di tecniche per lo studio dei sistemi biologici; Laboratorio di tassonomia animale; Biologia e tassonomia degli organismi di acque continentali.
- May 1998-May 2004: Aquatic Ecologist, Everglades National Park, in cooperative agreement with Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA. Critical Ecosystem Studies Initiative funded projects: 1) Subterranean Organisms in the Rocky Glades (1998-2000); 2) Crustacean communities from surface and ground waters in the southern Everglades, in relation to hydrological and geological features (2000-2003);3) Crustacean communities in the mangrove-marsh ecotone in southeastern ENP, as an environmental impact assessment tool for salinity changes in the Taylor Slough/C-111 basins (2002-2003), 4) Crustacean communities from surface and ground waters in the Rocky Glades, in relation to hydrological and water quality changes (2000-2004).
- 1997: PhD in Evolutionary Biology and Biochemistry, University “della Tuscia”, Viterbo.
- 1989: degree in Biological Sciences, University “La Sapienza”, Rome, Italy.
Service and advisorship
Sitting on national and international societies and association involved in limnology and aquatic ecology, and evaluation panels of international scientific journals. Advisorship for undergraduate and graduate students’s theses (PhD, MSc, BSc) at Italian and European Universities.
Current funded projects
Erasmus Mundus joint doctorate programme SMART – Science for the Management of Rivers and their Tidal systems (2017-2020)
PRIN NOACQUA “Risposte di comuNità e processi ecOsistemici in corsi d'ACQUA soggetti a intermittenza idrologica” - code 2O1572HW8F_003, funded by the Italian Ministry for Education, University and Research (2017-2020)