Valentina Todisco

Valentina Todisco


Affiliations: Biogeography

Hellbrunnerstraße 34, 5020 Salzburg

Tel: +43(0)662 8044 5602


Room: C-2.013


Research interest

Biogeography is the study of species distribution in geographic space and through geological time. It is an integrative field of inquiry that unites concepts and information from ecology, evolutionary biology and geology. In that sense I am interested in the biogeography. I am fascinated by the great variety of living organisms and how this diversity can be explained. My research interests focus on using molecular data to understand the historical and geographical determinants of present genetic diversity and to provide significant new taxonomic knowledge, including the discovery of new species. The use of collection specimens has significantly contributed to expand my research work, in particular when getting fresh samples is complicated due to geomorphological or political impediments, or when the analysis of extinct species is needed to reconstruct the evolutionary history of species. The objects of my research have been mainly butterflies.

Curriculum vitae:

Employment history

  • 09/2023-08/2025: Postdoc, University of Salzburg, Austria. Evolutionary Zoology
  • 01-06/2023: Postdoc, University of Oulu, Finland. Title: “Evolution under climate change”
  • 04/2018: Permanent position in the Italian Middle school
  • 07-12/2016: Postdoc, University of Vienna, Austria. Title: “Origin and evolution of Pseudophilotes barbagiae (Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae)”. Supervisor Dr. Andrea Grill

Education and training

  • 06/2014: Habilitation to teach Math and Science in the Middle School, grade 91/100, University of Rome Tor Vergata (Rome, Italy)
  • 07/2013: Training course in Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada)
  • 07/2013: Master’s in science education, Unipegaso University (Rome, Italy)
  • 06/2008: PhD in Evolutionary Biology and Ecology, University of Rome Tor Vergata (Rome, Italy). Title: “Phylogeography in Parnassius apollo (Lepidoptera, Papilionidae)”. Supervisor: Prof. Valerio Sbordoni
  • 12/2003: Exams for admission to the biologist career (Esame di Stato), University of Rome Tor Vergata (Rome, Italy)
  • 10/2003: Postgraduate Fellowship. Title: “Molecular phylogeny of Antarctic Chironomidae” in University of Rome Tor Vergata
  • 02/2003: Training course in Molecular Biology in Genoma Lab (Rome, Italy)
  • 11/2002: Diploma in Biological Sciences, grade 110/110 cum laude, University of Rome Tor Vergata (Rome, Italy). Experimental thesis entitled “Molecular phylogeny of Dolichopoda cave crickets (Orthoptera, Rhaphidophoridae)”. Supervisors: Prof. Valerio Sbordoni and Prof. Giuliana Allegrucci

Grants and Awards

  • Stand Alone, FWF Austrian fellowship with a project entitled “Biodiversity persistence under climate change: the role of niche evolution and species’ performance”. Supervisor Dr Jonas Eberle
  • Biodiverse Anthropocenes Research Programme (January – June 2023) with a project entitled “Evolution under climate change” in University of Oulu (Oulu, Finland). Supervisor Prof. Marko Mutanen
  • Synthesys Call 4 (July 2017) with a project entitled “Combining the invaluable source of Lepidoptera specimens in the Natural History Museum of London with the most recent methods for ancient DNA to have new insights on Calinaga genus (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae)” in Natural History Museum of London. Supervisor: Dr Blanca Huertas
  • Research Excellence in poster presentation. 6th International Barcode of Life Conference 2015 (University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada)


  • 2023: Secretary of the Italian Association of Lepidopterology (ALI)
  • 2017: Founder member of the Italian Association of Lepidopterology (ALI)
  • 2015: Member of Societas Europaea Lepidopterologica



Todisco V, Nazari V (2023) Is the concept of species a matter of sex or descent, or is it just “fuzzy”? Biological Journal of the Linnean Society XX: 1-3.


Todisco V, Vodă R, Prosser P, Nazari V (2020) Next Generation Sequencing-aided comprehensive geographic coverage sheds light on the status of rare and extinct populations of Aporia butterflies (Lepidoptera: Pieridae). Scientific Reports 10:13970.


Todisco V, Grill A, Fiedler K, Gottsberger B, Dincă V, Vodă R, Lukhtanov V, Letsch H (2018) Molecular phylogeny of the Palearctic butterfly genus Pseudophilotes (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) with focus on the Sardinian endemic P. barbagiae. BMC Zoology 3(4). doi: 10.1186/s40850-018-0032-7


Todisco V, Nazari V, Hebert PDN (2017) Corrigenda: Preliminary molecular phylogeny and biogeography of the monobasic subfamily Calinaginae (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae). Zoosystematics and Evolution 93 (2): 255-264. doi: 10.3897/zse. 93.10744. Mitteilungen aus dem Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin 93: 297, ISSN: 1435-1935

Todisco V, Nazari V, Cesaroni D, Sbordoni V (2017) Preliminary molecular phylogeny and biogeography of the monobasic subfamily Calinaginae (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae). Zoosystematics and Evolution 93(2): 255–264


Todisco V, Fiedler K, Puliga E, Dinca V, Voda R, Grill A (2015) The origin of the Sardinian Blue, Pseudophilotes barbagiae (Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae): Out-of-Europe or Out-of-Africa? In: Scientific abstracts from the 6th International Barcode of Life Conference. Genome 58(5): 288. doi: iii, 10.1139/gen-2015-0095


Todisco V, Gratton P, Wheat C, Zakharov E, Sbordoni V, Sperling F (2012) Mitochondrial phylogeography of the Holarctic Parnassius phoebus complex supports a recent refugial model for alpine butterflies. Journal of Biogeography 39 (6): 1058-1072. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2011.02675.x


Todisco V, Gratton P, Cesaroni D, Sbordoni V (2010) Phylogeography of Parnassius apollo: hints on taxonomy and conservation of a vulnerable glacial butterfly invader. Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society 101: 169–183. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8312.2010.01476.x


Allegrucci G, Rampini M, Gratton P, Todisco V, Sbordoni V (2009) Testing phylogenetic hypotheses for reconstructing the evolutionary history of Dolichopoda cave crickets in the eastern Mediterranean. Journal of Biogeography 36: 1785-1797. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2009.02130.x


Todisco V (2008) Filogeografia in Parnassius apollo, Linnaeus, 1758 (Lepidoptera, Papilionidae). PhD Thesis


Gratton P, Todisco V, Sbordoni V (2006) Filogeografia comparata di Parnassius apollo e P. mnemosyne. Un contributo genetico-molecolare alla biogeografia dell’Appennino. Biogeographia, Vol. XXVII.

Allegrucci G, Carchini G, Todisco V, Convey P, Sbordoni V (2006) A molecular phylogeny of antarctic Chironomidae and its implications for biogeographical history. Polar Biology 29 (4): 320-326. doi:10.1007/s00300-005-0056-7


Allegrucci G, Todisco V, Sbordoni V (2005) Molecular phylogeography of Dolichopoda cave crickets (Orthoptera, Rhaphidophoridae): A scenario suggested by mitochondrial DNA. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37: 153-164. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.04.022

Allegrucci G, Todisco V, Sbordoni V, Carchini G (2005) Progress in molecular phylogeny of Antarctic Chironomidae. In: P. Luporini and M. Morbidoni (eds.), “Proceedings of the fifth PNRA meeting on Antarctic Biology” 29-30 April 2004, Messina. Polarnet Technical Report 1(2005): 58-62


Sbordoni V, Allegrucci G, Todisco V (2004) Il genere Dolichopoda in Sardegna: filogenesi molecolare e ipotesi sulla evoluzione del popolamento. Studi Trentini di Scienze Naturali, Acta Biologica 81: 103-111. ISSN 0392-0542