Laura Carugati

What is the aim of your PhD Research? The aim of my PhD thesis is to improve the knowledge of meiofaunal biodiversity, using morphological identification and molecular tools based on Next Generation Sequencing platforms. The final aim will be to analyze the processes such as environmental parameters and food sources driving meiofaunal biodiversity and trophic structures.
What is the most appealing part of your PhD? I had different chances to travel around the world, in order to collect my samples during oceanographic cruises. It is always interesting to collaborate with other researchers in the field of marine biology to learn more about new discoveries and advanced methodologies.
How will your thesis contribute to DEVOTES project? My thesis is included in the research topic of WP5 ‘Innovative monitoring techniques’. I am focusing on the development of a new methodology based on sequencing of specific markers to study nematode biodiversity. This new approach will open new perspectives to investigate meiofaunal biodiversity using improved molecular tools methods.
What do you consider your most important accomplishment here so far?  We have set up a molecular method to study metazoan biodiversity in both shallow and deep-sea sediments. We also submitted a paper based on the comparison of different procedures for the DNA extraction from single nematodes and test the reliability of metagenetics for assessing their diversity.
What has been your most exciting experience in the project so far?  So far the best experience was the participation at summer schools in San Sebastian and in Roscoff on genomic tools in marine ecosystem monitoring, new developed methodologies and the use of next generation sequencing platforms to study marine biodiversity. But also field work was absolutely exciting and useful for my PhD.
What other important information about yourself would you like us to know? I’m a “curiosity-driven” person and I really love travelling for research. This PhD and also some previous research experiences in the field of marine biology, gave me the chance to travel around the world in the Mediterranean Sea and also in the Pacific Ocean, where I met amazing people, learnt different cultures and ways of living, while enjoying research. I think this the top we can wish for our life…