Irene Piccini

There are approximately as many beetle species living in the droppings of other animals as there are bird species globally. They are abundant and even ecologically important, thanks to their contribution to ecosystem processes. This is the reason why I spent my PhD investigating dung, with cattle as special COWorkers.


The general propose of my PhD at University of Turin (Italy) is to study ecological functions and ecosystem services provided by dung beetles under different factors (farming system, temperature, assemblage composition, climate change).

Part of my research was developed in Sweden in collaboration with prof. Tomas Roslin at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU - Uppsala). More specifically, considering that 44% of the dung beetle species are threatened in Sweden, I investigated the ecological role of some of these endangered species, evaluating if species most prone to extinction are also the most functionally important, thereby aggravating the consequences of biodiversity loss.