Human Ecology

Human Ecology is a discipline that has often been associated with human geography and that studies the interactions between the environment and human populations focusing on the biological, physiological, morphological, and developmental features that they present. The study concerns the spatial and temporal relationships that arise from the comparison between populations and the environment, recently named "exposomes".

Since the beginning of the century, the description of biological differences among human groups was analyzed mainly through morphology and skin pigmentation data.

Nowadays, the rapid technological advancement and the modern techniques of molecular biology have expanded the frontiers of the discipline, which exploit the huge number data generated by the omics sciences.

In this context, the experimental research mainly focuses on:

  1. The study of the relationship between human groups and anthropic environment. The changes that occurred with the urbanization process and the industrial revolution is the subject of specific projects. Particular attention is paid to the relationship between human groups and environmental pollutants
  2. The relationship of human communities with the food environment and resources and the changes in taste perceptions between human populations and their molecular basis
  3. The study of molecular mechanisms capable of conferring phenotypic plasticity and how these vary in human populations and in different social and cultural settings. This issue is explored through the analysis of epigenomics data such as DNA methylation
  4. Climatic adaptations at different latitudes through analysis of the interactions between nuclear and mitochondrial genomes.