Dr Chiara Benvenuto

Lecturer in Zoology


In 1999 I obtained my BSc/MSc in Biological Sciences at the Università degli Studi di Firenze, Florence, Italy studying the population structure, growth and use of shell in the hermit crab Clibanarius erythropus. I then moved to Portugal, to work in a project on the trophic ecology of freshwater fish in a temporary stream. Back in Italy, I worked for two years in a National Park, Parco Nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona, Campigna, preparing an atlas of the biodiversity of the Park. I obtained my PhD (2003-2008) from a dual program run from Kent State University and the University of Akron (Ohio, USA) investigating precopulatory mate guarding behaviours in clam shrimp as a case of intersexual conflict. I then spent one year (in 2010) as a post-doctoral Researcher in the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), in Sophia-Antipolis, France, looking at the effect of intra-specific hybridization on the success of invading species. I was awarded an IRCSET (Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering & Technology) EMPOWER Fellowship for 2011-2012 and I moved to Ireland in the UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin, where I performed a study on the genetic and environmental bases of sex-change plasticity in a marine fish. I have been appointed as a Lecturer in Zoology at the University of Salford, School of Environment & Life Sciences in January 2013.


I contribute to a series of modules dealing with animal evolution, marine biology, invertebrate ecology and biology, animal behaviour.

Research Interests

I consider myself primarily a behavioural ecologist and I aim to integrate behavioural ecology with population ecology, population genetics and ecological modelling. I enjoy working with aquatic animals and I am fascinated by the evolution of animal mating systems and strategies. I strongly believe that a deep knowledge of animal behaviours and mating strategies is fundamental in any program of conservation and management of biodiversity. My experience in the field and in the lab convinced me that the investigation of behavioural, conservation and evolutionary problems is most productive when empirical studies are directly tied to specific theory. I value an integrated approach and I try to link in my projects theory with field observations, manipulative experiments and molecular techniques.

My current main research interests include sequential hermaphroditism, patterns of sex allocations and sex ratios, sex-determination systems, and intersexual conflicts.

Please click here for further information on my research.

Qualifications and Memberships

1999 - Laurea (BSc/MSc equivalent) in Biological Sciences, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Florence, Italy

2008 - PhD in Aquatic Ecology, Kent State University – University of Akron, Ohio, USA

Member of:

- Italian Society for Evolutionary Biology (SIBE)

- International Society for Behavioral Ecology (ISBE)

- Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB)

- European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB)

- The Fisheries Society of the British Isles (FSBI)


Publications (since 2010)

  • Mariani S., Sala-Bozano M., Chopelet J., Benvenuto C., 2012. Spatial and temporal variation in size-at-sex-change in two exploited marine fishes. Environmental Biology of Fishes 96(4): 535-541..
  • Benvenuto C., Cheyppe-Buchmann S., Bermond G., Ris N., Fauvergue X., 2012. Intraspecific hybridization, life history strategies and potential invasion success in a parasitoid wasp. Evolutionary Ecology 26(6): 1311-1329.
  • Benvenuto C., Tabone E., Vercken E., Sorbier N., Colombel E., Warot S., Fauvergue X., Ris. N., 2012. Intraspecific variability in the parasitoid wasp Trichogramma chilonis: Can we predict the outcome of hybridization? Evolutionary Applications, 5(5): 498–510.
  • Benvenuto C., Weeks S.C., 2012. Intersexual conflict during mate guarding in an androdioecious crustacean. Behavioral Ecology, 23:218-224.
  • Benvenuto C., Weeks S. C., 2011. Mate guarding behavior in clam shrimp: the influence of mating system on intersexual conflict. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 65:1899-1907.
  • Weeks S. C., Benvenuto C., Sanderson T. F., Duff R. J., 2010. Sex chromosome evolution in the clam shrimp, Eulimnadia texana. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 23:1100-1106 (Selected for Faculty of 1000 Biology).