Teo Zanini

Collaborateur scientifique

Education pursued at the University of Neuchâtel

After obtaining a Bachelor in biology at the university of Neuchatel in 2021, I continued my studies in the same university and obtained in 2023 a Master in biology with the two specialization: Conservation Biology and Biodiversity Conservation: an interdisciplinary perspective. In line with the Master curriculum, the Functional Ecology Laboratory (LEF) gave me the opportunity to undertake a Master thesis project, a project which was able to combine a passion for botany I had for a long time with a worldwide problem we are facing today: the loss of biodiversity.
For this reason, under the supervision of Professor Sergio Rasmann and Olivia Rusconi and with the collaboration of the cantonal authorities of Ticino, I worked on a research focused on the conservation in situ of an endangered species of orchid known as Lady’s slipper (Cypripedium calceolus). This project stems directly from Olivia Rusconi’s master thesis and her PhD thesis focused on the study of C. calceolus’ ecological niche. This project explored the factors behind the decline of the orchid population in southern Switzerland and it touched all sorts of ecological aspects which might influence the growth and the reproductive success of the orchid.
Hence, the project allowed me to explore and appreciate different research fields such as:
  • Entomology: Characterizing insect communities
  • Botany and Phytosociology: Characterizing and mapping vegetation structure and composition
  • Pedology: Describing soils profiles, analyzing edaphic factors and mapping them
  • Microclimatic studies
  • Monitoring of herbivores
  • Relating the effect of the different factors on plant life history traits.

Current projects 

In line with the thematic explored with the master thesis, starting from November 2023, I was involved with a project in soil science. This exciting project focused on the study of anthropic soils is within the framework of a mandate of the Federal Office of the Environment (FOEN) and under the supervision of Claire Le Bayon in the Functional Ecology Laboratory (LEF). 
The aim of the project is to study artificial soils (ANTHROPOSOL ARTIFICIEL, according to the RP; Technosols according to the WRB) that were constructed 27 years ago in 1997 on the shores of lake of Neuchâtel in Hauterive-St. Blaise. More specifically we aim at characterizing soil evolution (diachronic approach) and their current functioning (synchronic approach).
Therefore, soil properties such as structure, aggregates stability, porosity, water infiltration capacity, organic matter content, cationic exchange capacity and earthworm diversity will be characterized and 1) compared with data gathered when the soils were first built in 1997 and 2) compared with data obtained today from natural soils. 
The results will be applied for better understanding how excavation wastes can be valued for the creation of artificial soils both in an urban and an agricultural context. 

Teo Zanini



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