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The Botany unit focuses its activity on the study of photosynthetic prokaryotes and eukaryotes and their adaptive strategies, in terms of resource use and inter-relationships with the environment and by the different approaches of cell, molecular and functional biology, applied plant biology and landscape ecology, plant ecology, geobotany, taxonomy and plant systematics, in connection with basic research and models, as well as with applied and biotechnological advances.
The team deepens the knowledge on phylogeny, differentiation and morpho-functional organization of wild plants and crops of current interest for humans, as well as on the mechanisms by which plant organisms develop and interact with the environment, including plant reproductive systems and ecophysiological responses of seeds in natural and laboratory conditions. Furthermore, the unit deals with the study of floristic and vegetational diversity at the different levels of biological organization and in different pedoclimatic conditions.
Moreover, the Botany units studies the problems related to the definition of ecosystem quality, nature conservation, environmental impact assessment, floristic-vegetational aspects of environmental planning, environmental education, compatible management and monitoring of natural resources, also with regard to global changes. In order to clarify evolutionary trends of plants, it makes use of comparative phylogenetic methods, allowing the adaptive interpretation of functional traits on a macro-evolutionary scale.
A further field of interest concerns the studies of the mechanisms to manage heavy metals in photosynthetic prokaryotes and eukaryotes and their repertoire to clean up polluted environments, verifying not only the ability to remove pollutants, but also the allied molecular mechanisms that regulate the homeostatic control of metal micronutrients and their uptake. Besides, the unit deals with the environmental impact of nanoparticles, evaluating their possible effects on growth and development of plants, with the use of lichens and model plants in biomonitoring and for ecotoxicological studies, and with the exploitation of microalgae for cutting-edge biotechnological applications.

The staff of the Unit of Botany is engaged in the didactic activities of the Biology Department and the Veterinary Sciences Department for the following disciplines of:

  • Botany
  • Flora and vegetation of the coasts
  • General and systematic botany
  • Introduction to digital biodiversity
  • Marine Biology 1
  • Phytogeography
  • Plant conservation
  • Plant-environment interactions
  • Plant evolution and diversity
  • Plant molecular and cellular biology
  • Scientific dissemination in the Botanic Gardens
  • Trees and shrubs of the Italian flora
  • Veterinary botany

The research staff of Botany unit

Full professors

Prof. Luigi Sanità di Toppi

Associate professors

Prof. Gianni Bedini
Prof. Lorenzo Peruzzi
Prof. Monica Ruffini Castiglione

Assistant professors

Dott. Andrea Andreucci
Dott. Angelino Carta (RTD-B)
Dott. Daniela Ciccarelli
Dott. Luca Paoli (RTD-A)


Dott. Giovanni Astuti

Ph.D. students

Dott. Erika Bellini
Dott. Marco D'Antraccoli 
Dott. Lijuan Liu 

Technical and Administrative Staff

Mr. Antonio Masini


Offices and laboratories:
Via Luca Ghini, 13 Pisa I-56126
Via Derna, 1 Pisa I-56126 (Systematic Botany group)
Tel. 050-2211310
Fax 050-2211309