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School of Environment and Life Sciences

Professor Stefano Mariani

Associate Dean Research


I have carried out my studies in my native city, Rome, obtaining a full BSc+MSc degree in Biological Sciences, with a Masters thesis in marine ecology (1997), and a PhD thesis in population genetics (2001). I then moved to the University of Hull to work, for 3 years, as a EU-funded post-doc on fisheries genetics of Atlantic herring.

In 2005 I took up a Lectureship in Fish Population Biology at University College Dublin, where I have established a thriving research team, and supervised to completion 8 PhDs and 3 Masters. I still hold an honorary visiting professorship at UCD.

In 2011 I moved to Salford as a Reader, and established a research programme primarily focusing on landscape and seascape genetics, population genomics and seafood biodiversity.


My interests in population genetics and the sustainability of animal populations provide a basis for my teaching. I coordinate the modules on  Animal Evolution (level 5), and  Marine Biology, and I contribute to Evolution, Development & Adaptation, Experimental Zoology, Study Skills, and Tropical Ecology & Conservation.

Every year, I offer Honours dissertations for the Wildlife, Zoology and Biology degree programmes.

Research Interests

I am an evolutionary biologist particularly interested in population genetics of fish (but not just fish, in fact I can also deal with slimy molluscs and furry mammals!).

I am currently focusing on a) interdisciplinary approaches to identifying biological units for conservation and management, b) the population genetic consequences of sex-change in fish, and c) the biological and societal drivers of seafood consumption.

Funded research on-going at Salford include:

  • Investigation of seafood mislabeling across Europe as part of LABELFISH;
  • Multidisciplinary investigation of adaptation to deep-sea environments in pelagic fish;
  • Ecological genomics in endangered north-American caribou;
  • Impact of boat noise on behavioural and reproductive traits in marine fish;
  • Investigating history and diversification of freshwater fish in Ireland.

Qualifications and Memberships

I am the Chair of the ICES Stock Identification Working Group.

I am a member of the Society for the Study of Evolution and the Fisheries Society of the British Isles.  I am co-editor of the forth-coming book Stock Identification Methods, to be published by Elsevier in 2013.

I was Guest Associate Editor for the International Journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.


for full list, search for A-2964-2012, or go to:

(please note: student coauthors are underlined)

  • Weckworth B.V., Musiani M., McDevitt A.D., Hebblewhite M. & Mariani S. (2012): “Reconstruction of caribou evolutionary history in Western North America and its implications for conservation”. Molecular Ecology, 21: 3610–3624.
  • Coscia I., Vogiatzi E., Kotoulas G., Tsigenopoulos C. & Mariani S. (2012): “Exploring neutral and adaptive genetic variation in expanding populations of gilthead sea bream, Sparus aurata, in the North East Atlantic”. Heredity, 108: 537–546.
  • Miller D.M. & Mariani S. (2010): “Smoke, mirrors and mislabelled cod: poor transparency in the European seafood industry”. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 8: 517-521.
  • Hayden S., B., Bekaert M., Crider T.A., Mariani S., Murphy W.J. & Teeling E.C. (2010): “Ecological adaptation determines functional mammalian olfactory subgenomes”. Genome Research.  20: 1–9.
  • Sala-Bozano M., Ketmaier V. & Mariani S. (2009): “Contrasting Signals from Multiple Markers Illuminate Population Connectivity in a Marine Fish”. Molecular Ecology. 18: 4811–4826.
  • Chopelet J., Waples R.S. & Mariani S. (2009): “Sex change and the genetic structure of marine fish populations”. Fish and Fisheries, 10: 329–343.
  • Weckworth B.V., Musiani M., DeCesare N.J., McDevitt A.D., Hebblewhite M. & Mariani S. (2013) Preferred habitat and effective population size drive the landscape genetics of an endangered species. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London – B. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2013.1756.