Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche


Le informazioni pubblicate in questa pagina sono gestite in completa autonomia da DIEGO FONTANETO il/la quale se ne assume ogni responsabilità

I miei interessi includono evoluzione, ecologia a larga scala e analisi di biodiversità, usando come modello soprattutto animali microscopici, con speciale attenzione ai rotiferi. Evoluzione e speciazione: l'origine e il mantenimento di specie separate tra loro negli animali sono processi tradizionalmente collegati all'interruzione di flusso genetico tra popolazioni. Il mio lavoro analizza le similitudini e le differenze nei processi che agiscono in organismi asessuati, senza alcun flusso genico (rotiferi bdelloidei), e in organismi sessuati, con flusso genico (la maggior parte degli altri animali). Biodiversità: gli organismi microscopici sono ritenuti essere poco interessanti dal punto di vista biogeografico perché potenzialmente cosmopoliti. Le loro capacità di dispersione dovute alla presenza di stadi di resistenza rende loro possibile essere trasportati passivamente in ogni angolo del mondo. Il mio lavoro e' volto a saggiare questi assunti usando tecniche di tassonomia molecolare associata ad analisi di ecologia spazialmente esplicita.

Altri nominativi:

Fontaneto, Diego


Telefono: +39 0323 518363
Recapito: Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto di Ricerca sulle Acque, Largo Tonolli 50, 28922 Verbania Pallanza, Italia

Identificatori Internazionali

Scopus Author ID: 6602577297
WoS Researcher ID: B-9710-2008
Research Gate: Diego_Fontaneto
Google Scholar: WO97K4QAAAAJ


Google Scholar H-Index: 41
Scopus H-Index: 33
ISI-WoS H-Index: 31

Esperienze lavorative

Datore di lavoro: CNR-IRSA
Frequenza: 2012 - oggi

NERC Advanced Research Fellow
Datore di lavoro: Imperial College London, UK
Frequenza: 2010 - 2012

STI Research Fellow
Datore di lavoro: Natural History Museum Stockholm, Sweden
Frequenza: 2009 - 2010

Marie Curie Research Fellow
Datore di lavoro: Imperial College London, UK
Frequenza: 2007 - 2009

Datore di lavoro: Università degli Studi di Milano
Frequenza: 2004 - 2006


Partecipazione a progetti scientifici, campagne di rilevamento, commesse o moduli/attività/sottoprogetti

EU MSCA RAVE (655537)

Ruolo: supervisore
Perodo di partecipazione all'attività: 06/2015 - oggi

RAVE: Rotifers as Vehicles for Epibiotic Bacteria - Non-trophic species interactions such as epibiosis are poorly studied and their impact on food web properties not easily quantified. Using rotifers and their attached bacteria, this project analyses two hypotheses on epibiosis in freshwater systems. (1) Epibiont-derived organic carbon is transported to the predators together with the host and forms a shortcut through the food web from dissolved organic carbon to higher predators. (2) Potentially pathogenic bacteria can attach to zooplankton and migrate with them, dispersing through great distances to areas that are considered pristine. The project follows a bottom-up approach from experimental assessments of the uptake of single cells attached to rotifers to the statistical inference on the effects of rotifer and bacterial communities. The questions are addressed by state-of-the-art methodologies, (tracer uptake, chemostat experiments, next generation sequencing and statistical models) by combining the expertise of a microbial ecologist (the experienced researcher, ER) and an evolutionary ecologist working on animals (the host). The study will be the first one to quantify the impact of epibionts on carbon transfer to higher trophic levels and the host-mediated distribution of bacterial genotypes in nature. The cross-disciplinary training of RAVE will considerably distinguish the ER from other microbial ecologist and prepare her for a further career in the field of microbe-zooplankton interactions.

EU COST Action DNAqua-Net CA15219

Ruolo: rappresentante italiano
Perodo di partecipazione all'attività: 2016 - oggi

DNAqua-Net: Developing new genetic tools for bioassessment of aquatic ecosystems in Europe - The protection, preservation and restoration of aquatic ecosystems and their functions is of global importance. For European states it became legally binding mainly through the EU-Water Framework Directive (WFD). In order to assess the ecological status of a given water body, aquatic biodiversity data are obtained and compared to a reference water body. The quantified mismatch thus obtained determines the extent of potential management actions. The current approach to biodiversity assessment is based on morpho-taxonomy. This approach has many drawback such as being time consuming, limited in temporal and spatial resolution, and error-prone due to variation of individual taxonomic expertise of the analysts. Novel genomic tools can overcome many of the aforesaid problems and could complement or even replace traditional bioassessment. Yet, a plethora of approaches are independently developed in different institutions, thereby hampering any concerted routine application. The goal of this Action is to nucleate a group of researchers across disciplines with the task to identify gold-standard genomic tools and novel eco-genomic indices for routine application for biodiversity assessments of European water bodies. Furthermore, DNAqua-Net will provide a platform for training of the next generation of European researchers preparing them for the new technologies. Jointly with water managers, politicians and other stakeholders, the group will develop a conceptual framework for the standard application of eco-genomic tools as part of legally binding assessments.


Ruolo: supervisore
Perodo di partecipazione all'attività: 11/2017 - 10/2019

The goal of this project is to use the animal communities inhabiting anchialine environments as a model to investigate evolutionary patterns and processes in island-like marine habitats. Anchialine environments represent world-wide distributed land-locked water bodies with marine origin. They are comparable to islands for terrestrial habitats as they encompass young, discrete habitats with comparable ecological conditions to the sea, thus providing independent replicates of comparable evolutionary processes. All anchialine habitats previously investigated harbor high endemism, disharmonic communities, species with unique set of troglomorphic features, and old animal lineages interpreted as living fossils. In the four research parts of this project, we will test each of these observations and the processes related to them by analyzing large data sets with both macroecological and phylogenetic methods and a broad theoretical perspective from the field of evolutionary ecology, comparative evolution and island biogeography. This will facilitate to link the ecological and evolutionary processes observed in these habitats (easy to isolate and test due to the discrete and young nature of anchialine habitats) with those affecting oceanic ecosystems, providing a tool for a deeper understanding of the marine biota. Whereas similar approaches are well characterized in terrestrial environments (e.g. island), they are missing in the ocean, obscuring our understanding of the processes occurring there.

Partecipazione a gruppi di lavoro, commissioni o organismi

Commissione CITES

Ruolo: commissario
Perodo di partecipazione all'attività: 12/2014 - oggi

Consiglio Direttivo Unione Zoologica Italiana

Ruolo: Membro e presidente della commissione fauna
Sito web attività:
Perodo di partecipazione all'attività: 2018 - oggi

Partecipazione a comitati di redazione (Editorial Board)


Ruolo: Editore
Perodo di partecipazione all'attività: 2020 - oggi

The European Zoological Journal

Ruolo: Editor
Perodo di partecipazione all'attività: 2012 - 2017


Ruolo: Academic Editor
Sito web attività:
Perodo di partecipazione all'attività: 2012 - 2016


Ruolo: Editor in Chief


Ruolo: Associate Editor in Chief

Journal of Limnology

Ruolo: Editor in Chief
Sito web attività:


Biologia degli invertebrati
Università degli Studi di Milano

Scienze Naturali
Laurea (Vecchio Ordinamento)
Università degli Studi di Milano



Prodotti della ricerca

Ester M. Eckert, Andrea Di Cesare, Diego Fontaneto, Thomas U. Berendonk, Helmut Bürgmann, Eddie Cytryn, Despo Fatta-Kassinos, Andrea Franzetti, D. G. Joakim Larsson, Célia M. Manaia, Amy Pruden, Andrew C. Singer, Nikolina Udikovic-Kolic, Gianluca Corno

Every fifth published metagenome is not available to science

(2020) in PLoS biology (Online)

A data set on the distribution of Rotifera in Antarctica

(2020) in Biogeographia (Forlì)
Paul J Bartels, Diego Fontaneto, Milena Roszkowska, Diane R Nelson, ?ukasz Kaczmarek

Latitudinal gradients in body size in marine tardigrades

(2020) in Zoological journal of the Linnean Society
Alejandro Martínez, Andrea Di Cesare, Neus Mari-Mena, Guillermo García-Gomez, Alvaro Garcia-Herrero, Gianluca Corno, Diego Fontaneto, Ester M. Eckert

Tossed 'good luck' coins as vectors for anthropogenic pollution into aquatic environment

(2020) in Environmental pollution (1987)
Alejandro Martínez, Ester M. Eckert, Tom Artois, Giovanni Careddu, Marco Casu, Marco Curini-Galletti, Vittorio Gazale, Stefan Gobert, Viatcheslav N. Ivanenko, Ulf Jondelius, Marinella Marzano, Graziano Pesole, Aldo Zanello, M. Antonio Todaro, Diego Fontaneto

Human access impacts biodiversity of microscopic animals in sandy beaches

(2020) in Communications biology
Birgit Gansfort, Diego Fontaneto, Marie Zhai

Meiofauna as a model to test paradigms of ecological metacommunity theory

(2020) in Hydrobiologia (Dordr., Online)
Sidinei Magela Thomaz, Luigi Naselli-Flores, Diego Fontaneto, Koen Martens

Preface: Emerging trends in aquatic ecology III

(2020) in Hydrobiologia (Dordr., Online)
Raffaella Sabatino, Andrea Di Cesare, Nina Dzhembekova, Diego Fontaneto, Ester M. Eckert, Gianluca, Corno, Snejana Moncheva, Roberto Bertoni, Cristiana Callieri

Spatial distribution of antibiotic and heavy metal resistance genes in the Black Sea

(2020) in Marine pollution bulletin.
Carlos López, Luz Marina Soto, Wilson Lafuente, Georgia Stamou, Evangelia Michaloudi, Spiros Papakostas, Diego Fontaneto

Rotifers from inland water bodies of continental Ecuador and Galápagos Islands: An updated checklist

(2020) in Zootaxa (Online)
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