Diversity of functional traits

Research Projects - Padua Botanical Garden

The effects of climate change — in particular the intensification of the hydrological cycle, with more and more extreme events, flooding and drought alike, and the rise in mean temperature — appear to affect the physiological response and the reproductive capacity of many species in equal measure, consequently threatening their survival. It is for this reason that climate change is seen as one of the main factors contributing to loss of biodiversity, and would appear to be more accentuated in geographical areas characterised by hot, dry summers and rainy winters, like Mediterranean Europe. Accordingly, one of the most important objectives in the field of ecology is to research and pinpoint the characteristics that favour the prospects for survival of certain species over those of others, in this type of environment.

The strands of research conducted focus on the functional traits displayed by various specimens of plants in order to define their morphological, anatomical, phenological, physiological and reproductive characteristics, from the cellular stage through to development of the entire organism. The plants examined include those growing at the Botanical Garden University Centre, here in Padua, and others in hillside and highland regions of northern Italy, where the effects of climate change are particularly noticeable. With this approach, it becomes possible to understand how different species adapt to climatic conditions, and predict the trajectories their future responses are likely to take.


L'obiettivo principale degli esperimenti è quello di creare una "carta d’identità funzionale" di diverse specie dell'Orto botanico per valutare come la biodiversità si manifesta sui tratti funzionali.

Referenti: Dott.ssa Sara Natale, Prof. Tomas Morosinotto, Prof. Alessandro Alboresi
Parole-chiave: Orto botanico, biodiversità, tratti funzionali

Questa ricerca unisce misure morfologiche, fisiologiche e fotosintetiche, allo scopo di conoscere lo stato di salute delle piante casmofile (ovvero legate ad un ambiente di parete rocciosa) del nostro territorio e le modalità di acclimatazione/adattamento di questi organismi ai vari stress ambientali a cui sono sottoposte.

Referenti: dott.ssa Sara Natale, Prof. Alessandro Alboresi, dott. Marco Canella, Prof.ssa Barbara Baldan, Prof. Francesco Dal Grande, Prof.ssa Nicoletta La Rocca
Parole-chiave: casmofile, biodiversità, tratti funzionali


The main purpose of these studies is to create a “functional identity card” for different species at the Botanical Garden, in order to assess how biodiversity is manifested in functional traits.

Contacts: Dr. Sara Natale, Prof. Tomas Morosinotto, Prof. Alessandro Alboresi

Keywords: Botanical Garden, biodiversity, functional traits

This research considers a range of morphological, physiological and photosynthetic measurements, with the end in view of assessing the health of chasmophytes (plants that grow typically in crevices and rock faces) in Italy, and learning how they acclimatise/adapt to the various environmental stresses acting on them.

Contact: Dr. Sara Natale, Prof. Alessandro Alboresi, Dr. Marco Canella, Prof. Barbara Baldan, Prof. Francesco Dal Grande, Prof. Nicoletta La Rocca

Keywords: chasmophytes, biodiversity, functional traits