PhD Program in Environmental Life Sciences

Main focus

The PhD course in "Environmental Life Sciences" is jointly offered by the Universities of Trieste and University of Udine. It covers a wide range of scientific issues related to environmental life researches ongoing at the two universities, whose main focuses are:


The possible field works for the PhD students span over a large array of ecosystems from the deep sea in Antarctica to high mountains passing through plains and rivers.


PhD students will find a dynamic and multidisciplinary environment that will promote both basic (e.g. marine protistan metagenomics, plant/environment interactions) and applied research(e.g. green technologies, ecological engineering and environmental biomonitoring).

The PhD Course aims to prepare well-qualified scientists able to critically manage the implementation of EU and national regulations concerning with environmental analysis and to autonomously develop research activities in the field of environment. Possible job placements are mainly in the environmental research field at national or international universities or research institutions, both in marine and terrestrial area of interest. The considerable interdisciplinary approach characteristic of this PhD course will allow the training of new and complete professional figures that will afford multidisciplinary scientific issues.

Methodologies learnt during the PhD course will apply to complex themes like:

- effects of global change on different natural ecosystems (from deep ocean to high mountains) or man-managed ones (agro-ecosystems, forestry, and so on);

- the biodiversity role in maintaining ecosystem efficiency and goods and service production;

- the onset of new pollution sources, the appearance of new pollutants and their effects on organisms, the management of new productive close – loop systems,

- the digitalization of environmental data to spreading them to the public for stimulating a general increase in the ecological awareness.

The course is focused on both theoretical and experimental activities. It includes the following ERC research areas:

Terrestrial ecology, land cover change (PE10_4); Biogeochemistry, biogeochemical cycles, environmental chemistry (PE10_9); Soil science (PE10_13); Ecology (theoretical and experimental; population, species and community level) (LS8_1); Biodiversity, conservation biology, conservation genetics, invasion biology (LS8_4); Evolutionary biology: evolutionary ecology and genetics, co-evolution (LS8_5); Environmental and marine biology (LS8_8); Environmental toxicology at the population and ecosystems level (LS8_9); Microbial ecology and evolution (LS8_10); Agriculture related to animal husbandry, dairying, livestock raising (LS9_3); Agriculture related to crop production, soil biology and cultivation, applied plant biology (LS9_5); Population biology, population dynamics, population genetics (LS8_2); Genetics, Genomics, Bioinformatics and Systems Biology (LS2).

Main research topics