foto Massimo Migliorini

My research focuses on the study of soil arthropod communities from natural and disturbed habitats. I use a variety of statistical methods to describe the variability at different spatial and temporal scales of oribatid mites, springtails and carabid beetles communities, the interaction between them and the environmental factors driving soil biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.

I also study the ultrastructural features of heavy metal compartmentalization and elimination mechanisms in specimens belonging to soil fauna through transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and X-ray microanalysis.

Research Interests
  • Researches on soil biocoenosis with particular reference to oribatid mites (Aracnida), Collembola (Hexapoda) and carabid beetles (Insecta), collected in natural and disturbed habitats and used as appropriate indicators for monitoring the relationships between antropogenic impact and environmental quality
  • Modelization of spatial and temporal distribution and variability of soil microarthropods from several ecosystems (from Mediterranean maquis to Iceland) at several spatial scales (from tens of centimetres to hundreds of kilometres) and in relationship to various environmental factors (e.g. metal pollution, agricultural management, water content, total organic C)
  • Studies on the ultrastructural features of the digestive system of some taxa belonging to soil fauna collected in heavy metals contaminated areas are performed utilising transmission electron microscopy (TEM).
  • Studies on soil arthropods capacity to fix potential toxic heavy metals in relation to their concentrations in soil and litter are conducted by analysing chemical composition of intracellular structures (i.e. electron dense granules, EDGs), through X-ray microanalysis
Teaching Activities

2000-2005 Academic years: Lectured and organised practicals on the role and importance of soil fauna ecosystems for students of the School for Teaching in Secondary Schools (SSIS).

2001: Lectured on the adaptation and role of the main edaphic groups in natural and agricultural ecosystems during the ‘Soil Ecology’ training course for ARPA employees organised by the Nature Conservation Department of the Piemonte Environmental Protection Agency.

2002-2009: Academic years: contract lecturer on ‘Animal Ecology’ for the Environmental Sciences Degree Programme, the Natural Sciences Degree Programme, the Management and Conservation of Natural Resources (GE.CO.PA.N.) Degree Programme and Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolution (B.E.E.) Degree Programme of the University of Siena.

2005-2006: Academic year: contract lecturer on ‘Biomonitoring of Soil Quality’ in the framework  of the project “Modulo Professionalizzante per Tecnico Esperto di Biomonitoraggio Ambientale” (Decreto n. 5321/2005 Regione Toscana).

2009-2010: Academic year: contract lecturer on ‘Basic elements of Ecology’ for Environmental Sciences Degree Programme (DM 509) of the University of Siena (detached office of Follonica).

Selected Publications
  1. Gaia Pigino, Massimo Migliorini, Eugenio Paccagnini, Fabio Bernini. Localisation of heavy metals in the midgut epithelial cells of Xenillus tegeocranus (Hermann, 1804) (Acari: Oribatida). Ecotox. Environ. Safe. 64, 257-263 (2006)
  2. Tancredi Caruso, Massimo Migliorini. A new formulation of the geometric series with applications to oribatid (Acari, Oribatida) species assemblages from human-disturbed Mediterranean areas. Ecol. Model, 195, 402-406 (2006)
  3. Tancredi Caruso, Gaia Pigino, Fabio Bernini, Roberto Bargagli, Massimo Migliorini.  The Berger-Parker index as an effective tool for monitoring the biodiversity of disturbed soils: a case study on Mediterranean oribatid (Acari: Oribatida) assemblages. Biodiv. Conserv. 16, 3277–3285 (2007)
  4. Tancredi Caruso, Massimo Migliorini. Euclidean geometry explains why lengths allow precise body mass estimates in terrestrial invertebrates: the case of oribatid mites. J. Theor. Biol. 256, 436-440
  5. Tancredi Caruso,  Massimo Migliorini,  Charlie Bucci,  Roberto Bargagli. Spatial patterns and autocorrelation in the response of microarthropods to soil pollutants: the example of oribatid mites in an abandoned mining and smelting area. Environ. Pollut. 157, 2939–2948 (2009)
  6. Massimo Migliorini. Oribatid mite coenoses (Acarida: Oribatida) from SW Sardinia. Zootaxa 2318, 8–37 (2009)
  7. Giovanni Bettacchioli, Mauro Taormina, Fabio Bernini, Massimo Migliorini. Disturbance regimes in a wetland remnant: implications for trait-displacements and shifts in the assemblage structure of carabid beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) J. Insect Conserv. 16, 249–261 (2012)
  8. Tancredi Caruso, Mauro Taormina, Massimo Migliorini. Relative role of deterministic and stochastic determinants of soil animal community: a spatially explicit analysis of oribatid mites. J. Anim. Ecol. 81, 214–221 (2012)
  9. Maria Ingimarsdóttir, Tancredi Caruso, Jörgen RIPA, Ólof Birna Magnúsdóttir, Massimo Migliorini, Katarina Hedlund. Primary assembly of soil communities - Disentangling the effect of dispersal and local environment. Oecologia  170, 745–754 (2012)
  10. Flora Angela Rutigliano, Massimo Migliorini, Oriana Maggi, Rosaria D’Ascoli, Pietro Paolo Fanciulli, Anna Maria Persiani. Dynamics of fungi and fungivorous microarthropods in a Mediterranean maquis soil affected by experimental fire. Eur. J. Soil Biol. 56, 33-43 (2013)

For the complete list of pubblications see at: