Contacts Centre for Environmental Biology


PhD, FCT Researcher 2013


CBA research group(s):

Environmental Stress
and Functional Ecology



Personal webpage

Team webpage

Silvana Munzi

Main Research Interests

Lichen systematics. Use of lichens for biomonitoring purpouse (Lichen Diversity Index, transplants method, bioaccumulation). Eco-physiology of lichens, in particular related to the mechanisms of nitrogen sensitivity/tolerance. Study of physiological parameters (photosynthetic efficiency, membrane damage, chlorophyll degradation, buffer capacity, electrolyte homeostasis, ions cellular location).


Academic Qualifications

- 2010 - PhD degree (Doctor Europaeus) in Environmental Science at the Scuola Superiore S.Chiara, University of Siena with the thesis “Sensitive organisms (lichens) as monitors of biological effects of nitrogen pollution”.
- 2003 - Laurea in Biology (110 cum laude) at the University of Roma Tre with the thesis “Biomonitoring of lichens diversity in Rome as air quality indicator”.


Recent Publications

Munzi S., Cruz C., Branquinho C., Pinho P., Leith I.D. & Sheppard L.J. 2014. Can ammonia tolerance amongst lichen functional groups be explained by physiological responses? Environmental Pollution 187:206-209.

Munzi S., Triggiani D., Ceccarelli D., Climati E., Tiezzi A., Pisani T., Paoli L. & Loppi S. 2014. Antiproliferative activity of three lichen species belonging to the genus Peltigera. Plant Biosystems 148(1): 83-87.

Paoli L., Fiorini E., Munzi S., Sorbo S., Basile A. & Loppi S. 2014. Uptake and acute toxicity of cerium in the lichen Xanthoria parietina. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 104:379–385.

Munzi S., Branquinho C., Cruz C. & Loppi S. 2013. Nitrogen tolerance in the lichen Xanthoria parietina: the sensitive side of a resistant species. Functional Plant Biology 40(3):237-243.

Munzi S., Pisani T., Paoli L., Renzi M. & Loppi S. 2013. Effect of nitrogen supply on the C:N balance in the lichen Evernia prunastri (L.) Ach. Turkish Journal of Biology 37(1):165-170.

Paoli L., Fiorini E., Munzi S., Sorbo S., Basile A. & Loppi S. 2013. Antimony toxicity in the lichen Xanthoria parietina (L.) Th. Fr. Chemosphere 93:2269-2275.

Paoli L., Munzi S., Fiorini E., Gaggi C. & Loppi S. 2013. Influence of angular exposure and proximity to vehicular traffic on the diversity of epiphytic lichens and the bioaccumulation of traffic-related elements. Environmental Science & Pollution Research 20(1):250-259.

Paoli L., Munzi S., Pisani T., Guttová A. & Loppi S. 2013. Freezing of air-dried lichens ensures that thalli remain healthy for later physiological measurements. Plant Biosystems 147(1):141–144.

Basile A., Sorbo S., Pisani T., Paoli L., Munzi S. & Loppi S. 2012. Bioacumulation and ultrastructural effects of Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn in the moss Scorpiurum circinatum (Brid.) Fleisch. & Loeske. Environmental Pollution 166:208-211.

Brunialti G., Frati L., Cristofolini F., Chiarucci A., Giordani P., Loppi S., Benesperi R.,Cristofori A., Critelli P., Di Capua E., Genovesi V., Gottardini E., Innocenti G., Munzi S.,Paoli L., Pisani T., Ravera S. & Ferretti M. 2012. Can we compare lichen diversity data? A test with skilled teams. Ecological Indicators 23:509-516.

Munzi S., Paoli L., Fiorini E. & Loppi S. 2012. Physiological response of the epiphytic lichen Evernia prunastri (L.) Ach. to ecologically relevant nitrogen concentrations. Environmental Pollution 171:25-29.

Munzi S., Loppi S., Cruz C. & Branquinho C. 2011. Do lichens have “memory” of their native N environment? Planta 233(2):333-342. 

Pisani T., Munzi S., Paoli L., Backor M. & Loppi S. 2011. Physiological effects of arsenic in the lichen Xanthoria parietina (L.) Th. Fr. Chemosphere 82(7):963-969.

Pisani T., Munzi S., Paoli L., Backor M., Kovacik J., Piovar J. & Loppi S. 2011. Physiological effects of mercury in the lichens Cladonia arbuscula subsp. mitis (Sandst.) Ruoss and Peltigera rufescens (Weiss) Humb. Chemosphere 82(7):1030-1037.

Munzi S., Pisani T., Paoli L. & Loppi S. 2010. Time- and dose-dependency of the effects of nitrogen pollution on lichens. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 73:1785-1788.

Paoli L., Pisani T., Munzi S., Gaggi C. & Loppi S. 2010. Influence of sun irradiance and water availability on lichen photosynthetic pigments during a Mediterranean summer. Biologia 65(5):776-783.

Munzi S., Pirintsos S.A. & Loppi S. 2009. Chlorophyll degradation and inhibition of polyamine biosynthesis in the lichen Xanthoria parietina under nitrogen stress. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 72 (2):281-285.

Munzi S., Pisani T. &  Loppi S. 2009. The integrity of lichen cell membrane is a suitable parameter for monitoring early biological effects of nitrogen pollution. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 72:2009-2012.

Pisani T.,  Munzi S., Paoli L., Bačkor M. & Loppi S. 2009. Physiological effects of a geothermal element: boron excess in epiphytic lichen Xanthoria parietina (L.) Th. Fr. Chemosphere 76:921-926.

Pirintsos S.A., Munzi S., Loppi S. & Kotzabasis K. 2009. Do polyamines alter the sensitivity of lichens to nitrogen stress? Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 72:1331-1336.

Triggiani D., Ceccarelli D., Tiezzi A., Pisani T., Munzi S., Gaggi C. & Loppi S. 2009. Antiproliferative activity of lichen extracts on murine myeloma cells. Biologia 64(1):59-62.

Munzi S., Ravera S. & Caneva G.  2007. Epiphytic lichens as indicators of environmental quality in Rome. Environmental pollution 146:350-358.


Ongoing projects

  • REAL TUNE - Role of enzymatic activity in lichen tolerance under nitrogen excess Call (part) identifier FP7-PEOPLE-2011-IEF Funding scheme Marie Curie actions - Intra European Fellowship (IEF) (Project Number: 301785)

  • 2014-running – Consultant in the project “Effects of climate change and nitrogen deposition on establishment, growth and nutrition composition of some epiphyte lichens in a high altitude mountain” with the Prof. Chuanhua Wang, Three Gorges University, Yichang, China.

  • July 2012-running -  ÉCLAIRE project: Effects of Climate Change on Air Pollution and Response Strategies for European Ecosystems (EU FP7

  • 2011 January-running - In-Nitro: conceptualizing the effects of increased nitrogen avalibility in a Mediterranean ecosystem (PTDC/BIA-ECS/122214/2010).


Other Information

  • 2008-2014 - Member of the Steering Committee and Treasurer of the Italian Lichen Society

  • 2011-2012 - Member of the Steering Committee of the working group for Lichenology of the Italian Botanical Society