Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences
The Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences (DBGES), coming from the joining of three former departments (Animal Biology, Botany and Earth Sciences), was founded in June 2011 following an administrative reform and functional reorganization of the University of Catania. A staff of about 80 people (including researchers, technicians and administrative personnel) is involved in many different fields of biology (e.g. biochemistry, molecular biology, botany, plant physiology, cytology, ecology, animal physiology, genetics, ethology, zoology, etc.), and geology (geodynamic processes lithosphere composition and internal structure, natural hazard).
Currently, the DBGES is arranged in four sections: Animal Biology, Plant Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Earth Sciences.
Didactics and research activities
The DBGES offers the following Bachelor degree (3 years): Biological Sciences, Environmental and Natural Sciences, Geological Science, and the following Master degree (2 years): Cellular and Molecular Biology, Health Biology, Sciences of the Environmental Conservation, Biodiversity and Environmental Quality, Biomolecular Chemistry, Geological Science, and Geophysical Science. Furthermore, the followingPhD programs are offered by the DBGES: Evolutionary and Environmental Biology, Entomological Sciences and Protection of Agro-ecosystems (in association with other departments), Earth Science, and Biotechnology (in association with other departments).
The main research activities of the DBGES are focused on many different fields: structure and organization of the living beings (from molecular to ecosystem level), reproductive processes, evolution and phylogeny, ecology, biodiversity and environmental conservation, risk assessment and prevention, functional-structural analysis and biomolecular engeneering, species analysis and construction of wet and bioinformatics applications, analysis of the bioenergetic metabolites equilibrium, comparative immunobiology, surface processes and geomorphology, engineering geology, structural geology and tectonics, geology and petrology of basements, seismology, active tectonics, volcanology; paleoecology; natural hazards; geological resources, applied petrology and geology for cultural heritage.
The research and didactic activities of the DBGES are supported by several structures and museums. The Botanical Garden, founded in 1858, is well-known for its huge collections of exotic plants, especially succulents and palms, but also for the so-called “Sicilian Garden” where both the autochthonous Sicilian flora is cultivated and the main environments characterizing the Sicilian landscape are reconstructed. The Herbarium (CAT) consists of historical collections (such as the pre-Linnaean “Herbarium Cupani” or the “Flora Sicula” of F. Tornabene), as well as by modern collections, with more than 350,000 specimens mainly from the Mediterranean area. The Seed Bank (BGS-CAT) was established in 2004 for enhancing the ex-situ conservation of the Sicilian flora, especially of those taxa, endemic and/or endangered, whose taxonomic, phytogeographical and ecological value is extremely important for the biodiversity conservation. The Museum of Zoology and the recent Butterflies House are not only exhibition spaces, but also places where scientific communications and exchanging of ideas usually take place.