Rita Cannas


Rita Cannas

Address: Department of Life and Environmental Sciences ,
Via T. Fiorelli, 1, 09126 Cagliari
Phone: +39 0706758004
Email: rcannas@unica.it

Present position

Associate Professor in Zoology BIO05) at the Faculty of Biology and Pharmacy, University of Cagliari.
Working place: Department of Life Sciences and Environment – Animal Marine Biology Section, Com.Bio.Ma. – Competence Center for the study of Marine Biodiversity
Responsible of the Molecular LAB of Marine Ecology and Zoology.


2002: University of Sassari, PhD in “Compared biochemistry of ecosystems”. PhD Dissertation: ”Genetic and molecular characterization of the Mediterranean spiny lobsters”. Highest honors.

1995: Degree in Biological Sciences (curriculum Biological-Ecological), “Contribution to the study of the biology and karyology of Echelus myrus L.”, University of Cagliari, highest honors.

Research activities

Research activities focus on the field of Zoology and Marine Ecology with particular interest on marine animal taxa inhabiting the Mediterranean region. In particular, application of genetic techniques, both caryological and molecular to acquire information for the effective management of commercial species and/or for the protection of endangered endemic species. In detail:

  1. development and application of genetic markers applied to:
    1. “Fisheries Genetics”: measurement of differentiation and connectivity between populations , and genomic mapping of the demersal stocks in the Italian seas
    2. “Conservation genetics” : conservation of populations of native animals of the Sardinian fauna and / or threatened with extinction
    3. “Molecular systematics/DNA barconding”: identification and classification of cryptic and / or problematic taxa with molecular taxonomic methods
    4. “Cytogenetics”: Using of karyological techniques for the reconstruction of the evolutionary relationships among species of fish and shellfish, study of the evolution of the karyotype and karyotyping of species
  2. multidisciplinary studies, through the integration of genetic, environmental and biological monitoring data, for the conservation and management of individual marine species of commercial importance and for the study of habitats and populations of particular importance for the Mediterranean marine biodiversity
  3. Research and development of new forms of “active recovery” in overfished species
  4. Monitoring at sea for the assessment of demersal resources through the participation in international campaigns (MEDITS Mediteranean International Trawl Survey ) and national surveys (CAMPBIOL – landed on the biological sampling of demersal resources ; GRUND – National Group National Program demersal fisheries data collection) .

Ongoing research projects

  • 2013-2015 “Sistema di valorizzazione e messa a punto di strumenti a basso impatto ambientale e sistemi di pesca non invasive” finanziato Regione Autonoma della Sardegna nell’ambito L.R. 7 Agosto 2007, n. 7. Finanziato RAS
  • 2015 “Biological and Genetic Sampling and Analysis of the ICCAT Atlantic-Wide Research Programme on Bluefin Tuna (GBYP Phase 4. Finanziato ICCAT)
  • 2012-2014 PRIN 2010-2011: “Biocostruzioni costiere: struttura, funzione, e gestione”. Cofinanziato MIUR
  • 2012-2015 PNR (Programma Nazionale delle Ricerche) PROGRAMMA RITMARE SP2_A2 Mappatura genomica delle unità di stock di specie demersali dei Mari Italiani: creazione di una base dati di genomica di popolazione per l’identificazione di stock e stock boundaries in Mullus barbatus e Parapeneaus longirostris. Cofinanziato MIUR
  • 2012-2015 “Approccio multidisciplinare per la conservazione e gestione della selacofauna del Mediterraneo” finanziato Regione Autonoma della Sardegna nell’ambito L.R. 7 Agosto 2007, n. 7. Finanziato RAS
  • 2002-2015 CAMPBIOL (campionamenti biologici sullo sbarcato di risorse demersali). Finanziato MiPaF
  • 1996-2015 MEDITS (Mediteranean International Trawl Survey). Finanziato MiPaF
  • 2012-2015 Uso del ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) nella definizione applicativa di piani di gestione per il corallo rosso (Corallium rubrum). Finanziato MipaF e RAS

Scientific society memberships

Since 1995 Società Italiana di biologia marina (Italian Society of Marine biology)
Since 2005 Unione zoologica italiana (Union of Italian Zoologists)

Teaching activities

Since 2011 lecturer of the course ‘Techniques for the study and conservation of marine biodiversity’, Faculty of Sciences, University of Cagliari, for the postgraduate curriculum in ‘Marine Bio-ecology’.
Since 2003 teaching in several courses (Marine ecology, Laboratory of zoology, Conservation of the marine environment, Animal Biodiversity, Ecology II, Ethology, Laboratory of techniques of cytogenetic and molecular taxonomy, Techniques for the study and conservation of marine biodiversity) in postgraduate curricula at the Faculty of Sciences, University of Cagliari.

Publications from 2008 to 2015

  1. Coluccia E., Deidda F., Cannas R., Lobina C., Cuccu D., Deiana A.M., Salvadori S. Comparative cytogenetics of six Indo-Pacific moray eels by chromosomal banding and FISH (Anguilliformes: Muraenidae). Journal of Fish Biology, Online ISSN: 1095-8649 (in press)
  2. Marzia Bo; Giorgio Bavestrello; Michela Angiolillo; Lucio Calcagnile; Simonepietro Canese; Rita Cannas; Alessandro Cau; Marisa D’Elia; Filippo D’Oriano; Maria Cristina Follesa; Gianluca Quarta; Angelo Cau. Persistence of pristine deep coral forests in the Mediterranean Sea (SW Sardinia). PlosOne, eISSN-1932-6203
  3. Cau Alessandro, Paliaga Enrico, Cannas Rita, Deiana Giacomo, Follesa Maria Cristina, Sacco Flavio, Todde Samuele, Orrù Paolo E. Preliminary data on habitat characterization relevance for red coral conservation and management. Italian Journal of Geosciences, E-ISSN: 2038-1727, vol 134 doi: 10.3301/IJG.2014.40
  4. Rita Cannas, Flavio Sacco, Alessandro Cau, Elisabetta Coluccia, Maria Cristina Follesa, Angelo Cau. New insights into connectivity patterns of mesophotic C. rubrum populations. Hydrobiologia (2015), ISSN: 0018-8158, doi:10.1007/s10750-015-2198-0
  5. Porcu C., Bellodi A., Cannas R., Marongiu M.F., Mulas A., Follesa M.C. Life-history traits of the commercial blonde ray, Raja brachyura, from the central-western Mediterranean Sea. Mediterranean Marine Science (2015) 16/1:90-102, ISSN: 1791-6763, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12681/mms.898
  6. Follesa Maria Cristina, Cannas Rita, Cau Alessandro, Cuccu Danila, Mulas Antonello, Porcu Cristina, Saba Silvia, Cau Angelo. Homing and orientation of Palinurus elephas (Fabricius) in three no-take areas of the central-western Mediterranean: implications for marine reserve design. Marine and Freshwater Research (2015), 66(1), 1–9, ISSN: 1323-1650, http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF13079
  7. Mulas A., Bellodi A., Cannas R., Cau Al., Cuccu D., Marongiu M.F., Porcu C., Follesa M.C. Diet and feeding behaviour of longnosed skate Dipturus oxyrinchus in Sardinian waters (central-western Mediterranean). Journal of fish biology (2015) vol. 86, p. 121-138, ISSN: 0022-1112, doi:10.1111/jfb.12551
  8. Mereu M., Agus B., Cannas R., Cau Al., Coluccia E., Cuccu D. Mark-recapture investigation on Octopus vulgaris specimens in an area of the central western Mediterranean Sea. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom (2015) vol. 95(1), p. 131-138, ISSN: 0025-3154, doi: 0.1017/S002531541400112X
  9. Cannas R., Sacco F., Cau Al, Cuccu D., Follesa M.C., Cau A.. Genetic monitoring of deep-water exploited banks of the precious Sardinia coral Corallium rubrum (L., 1758): useful data for a sustainable management. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems (2014), ISSN: 1052-7613, DOI: 10.1002/aqc.2522 Online early
  10. Salvadori S., E. Coluccia, F. Deidda, A. Cau, R. Cannas, C. Lobina, A. Sabatini & A. M. Deiana. Karyotype, ribosomal genes, and telomeric sequences in the crayfish Procambarus clarkii (Decapoda: Cambaridae). Journal of Crustacean Biology (2014) 34(4):525-531, ISSN: 0278-0372, doi:10.1163/1937240x-00002247.
  11. Follesa Maria Cristina, Cannas Rita, Cau Alessandro, Pedoni Claudia, Pesci Paola, Angelo Cau. (2013). Deep water red coral from the island of Sardinia (NW Mediterranean): a local example of Sustainable management. Marine and Freshwater Research vol. 64, p. 706-715, ISSN: 1323-1650
  12. Cuccu Danila, Cannas Rita, Mereu Marco, Follesa Maria Cristina, Jereb Patrizia and Angelo Cau (2013). On the first record of the genus Octopoteuthis (Cephalopoda: Octopoteuthidae) in the Sardinian Channel (central western Mediterranean Sea). Molluscan Research vol.33, p. 135-142, ISSN: 1323-5818
  13. Salvadori S, Coluccia E, Deidda F, Cau A, Cannas R, Deiana AM (2012) Comparative cytogenetics in four species of Palinuridae: B chromosomes, ribosomal genes and telomeric sequences. Genetica (2012) 140:429–437 DOI 10.1007/s10709-012-9691-4
  14. Follesa MC, Cannas R, Cabiddu S, Cau Al, Mulas A, Porcu C, Cau A (2012). Preliminary observations of the reproductive biology and diet for the Norwegian skate Dipturus nidarosiensis (Rajidae) from the Central Western Mediterranean Sea. CYBIUM, 36(3): 473-477 ISSN: 0399-0974
  15. Lo Brutto S, Maggio T, Deiana AM, Cannas R, and Arculeo M (2012). Further investigations on populations of the deep-water blue-red shrimp Aristeus antennatus (Risso, 1816) (Decapoda, Dendrobranchiata), as inferred from Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) and mtDNA analyses. CRUSTACEANA, 85 (11) 1393-1408,ISSN: 0011-216X, doi:10.1163/15685403-00003131
  16. Cannas R, Marcias S, Sacco F, Cau A, Deiana AM (2012). First isolation and characterization of genomic-SSRs markers for the giant red shrimp Aristaeomorpha foliacea(Risso, 1827). GENETICS AND MOLECULAR RESEARCH, vol. 11(3): 2745-2748, ISSN: 1676-5680, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4238/2012.August.17.1
  17. Cannas R, Sacco F, Follesa MC, Sabatini A, Arculeo M, Lo Brutto S, Maggio T, Deiana AM & Cau A (2012). Genetic variability of the blue and red shrimp Aristeus antennatus in the Western Mediterranean Sea inferred by DNA microsatellite loci. MARINE ECOLOGY, vol. 33, p. 350-363, ISSN: 0173-9565, doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0485.2011.00504.x
  18. Addis P, Secci M, Locci I, Cannas R, Greco G, Dean JM, Cau A (2012). Social, cultural and basic economic analysis of the trap fishery of sardinia: first step towards parameterization. COLLECTIVE VOLUME OF SCIENTIFIC PAPERS, vol. 67, p. 380-389, ISSN: 1021-5212
  19. Cannas R, Ferrara G, Milano I, Landi M, Cariani A, Addis P, Cau A, Piccinetti C, Sella M, Tinti F (2012). Spatio-temporal genetic variation of atlantic bluefin tunas from Sardinian and Mediterranean tuna traps. COLLECTIVE VOLUME OF SCIENTIFIC PAPERS, vol. 67, p. 351-358, ISSN: 1021-5212
  20. Colli L, Cannas R, Deiana A.M, Tagliavini J (2011). Microsatellite variability of Sardinian pine martens, Martes martes. ZOOLOGICAL SCIENCE, vol. 28, p. 580-586, ISSN: 0289-0003doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2108/zsj.28.580
  21. Follesa MC, Cannas R, Cau Al, Cuccu D, Gastoni A, Ortu A, Pedoni C, Porcu C, Cau A (2011). Spillover effects of a Mediterranean marine protected area on the European spiny lobster Palinurus elephas (Fabricius, 1787) resource. AQUATIC CONSERVATION-MARINE AND FRESHWATER ECOSYSTEMS, vol. 21: (2011), p. 564–-572, ISSN: 1052-7613, doi: 10.1002/aqc.1213
  22. Sabatini A, Cannas R, Follesa MC, Palmas F, Manunza A, Matta G, Pendugiu AA, Serra F, Cau A (2011). Genetic characterization and artificial reproduction attempt of endemic sardinian trout: experiences in captivity. THE ITALIAN JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY, vol. 78 (1), p. 20-26, ISSN: 1125-0003, doi: 10.1080/11250003.2010.497171
  23. Cannas R, Caocci F, Follesa MC, Olita A, Pedoni C, Pendugiu A, Pesci P, Sacco F, Cau A (2011). The red coral resource in Sardinian seas: a multidisciplinary survey on Corallium rubrum populations. STUDI TRENTINI DI SCIENZE NATURALI, vol. 89, p. 9-18, ISSN: 2035-7699
  24. Cannas R, Ferrara G, Marcias S, Melis R, Piccinetti C, Cau A, Addis P, Tinti F. (2011). Spatio-Temporal genetic analysis of bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus L., caught by the Sardinian traps. BIOLOGIA MARINA MEDITERRANEA, vol. 18, p. 346-347, ISSN: 1123-4245
  25. Mereu M, Stacca D, Cannas R, Cuccu D (2011). On the growth rings on Histioteuthis bonnellii (Férussac, 1835) upper beaks. BIOLOGIA MARINA MEDITERRANEA, vol. 18, p. 134-137, ISSN: 1123-4245
  26. Sacco F, Marcias S, Deiana AM, Cannas R (2011). Population genetics of the red and blue shrimp Aristeus antennatus in the Western Mediterranean Sea. BIOLOGIA MARINA MEDITERRANEA, vol. 18, p. 374-375, ISSN: 1123-4245
  27. Babbucci M, Buccoli S, Cau A, Cannas R, Goñi R, Díaz D, Marcato S, Zane L, Patarnello T (2010). Population structure, demographic history, and selective processes: Contrasting evidences from mitochondrial and nuclear markers in the European spiny lobster Palinurus elephas (Fabricius, 1787). MOLECULAR PHYLOGENETICS AND EVOLUTION, vol. 56, p. 1040-1050, ISSN: 1055-7903, doi: 10.1016/ j.ympev.2010.05.014
  28. Cannas R, Follesa MC, Porcu C, Cabiddu S, Salvadori S, Deiana AM, Cau A (2010). Molecular and morphological evidence of the occurrence of the Norwegian skate Dipturus nidarosiensis (Storm 1881) in the Mediterranean Sea. MARINE BIOLOGY RESEARCH, vol. 6, p. 341-350, ISSN: 1745-1000, doi: 10.1080/17451000903428496
  29. Coluccia E, Deiana AM, Cau A, Cannas R, Tagliavini J, Libertini A, Salvadori S (2010). Karyotype analysis of the pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus (Actinopterygii, Centrarchidae) by chromosomal banding and in situ hybridization. JOURNAL OF APPLIED ICHTHYOLOGY, vol. 26, p. 445-448, ISSN: 0175-8659, doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0426.2009.01384.x
  30. Cuccu D, Mereu M, Cannas R, Marcias S, Cau A. and Jereb P (2010). An unusual finding of Sepietta oweniana (Cephalopoda: Sepiolidae) egg clutch. SCIENTIA MARINA, vol. 74, p. 555-560, ISSN: 0214-8358, doi: 10.3989/scimar.2010.74n3555
  31. Addis P, Melis P, Cannas R, Secci M, Tinti F, Piccinetti C, Cau A (2010). A morphometric approach for the analysis of body shape in bluefin tuna: Preliminary results- SCRS/2009/184. COLLECTIVE VOLUME OF SCIENTIFIC PAPERS, vol. 65(3), p. 982-987, ISSN: 1021-5212
  32. Ferrara G, Cannas R, Stagioni M, Riccioni G, Addis P, Cau A, Piccinetti C, Tinti F (2010). Fishery genetics of Mediterranean bluefin tuna: Reviewing of existing data, ongoing studies and perspectives. SCRS/2009/185. COLLECTIVE VOLUME OF SCIENTIFIC PAPERS, vol. 65(3), p. 988-995, ISSN: 1021-5212
  33. Manunza A, Mascia D, Demurtas R, Deiana A, M, and Cannas R (2010). On the genetic structure of Ruditapes decussatus (Mollusca Bivalvia) inferred by nuclear and mitochondrial genetic markers. RAPPORTS ET PROCES-VERBAUX DES REUNIONS COMMISSION INTERNATIONALE POUR L’EXPLORATION SCIENTIFIQUE DE LA MER MEDITERRANEE, vol. 39, p. 384, ISSN: 0373-434X
  34. Marcias S, Sacco F, Cau A, Cannas R (2010). Microsatellite markers for population genetic studies of the giant red shrimp Aristaeomorpha foliacea (Crustacea Decapoda). RAPPORTS ET PROCES-VERBAUX DES REUNIONS COMMISSION INTERNATIONALE POUR L’EXPLORATION SCIENTIFIQUE DE LA MER MEDITERRANEE, vol. 39, p. 386, ISSN: 0373-434X
  35. Pesci P, Cannas R, Follesa M.C, Pedoni C, Cau A (2010). Note on historical and present exploitation of Corallium rubrum (linneo, 1758) in the central western Mediterranean. RAPPORTS ET PROCES-VERBAUX DES REUNIONS COMMISSION INTERNATIONALE POUR L’EXPLORATION SCIENTIFIQUE DE LA MER MEDITERRANEE, vol. 39, p. 629, ISSN: 0373-434X
  36. Coluccia E, Salvadori S, Deidda F, Cannas R, Deiana AM (2009). Localization of the pentanucleotide telomeric sequence (TTAGGG)n in Crustacean Decapods. CHROMOSOME RESEARCH, vol. 17, p. 169-170, ISSN: 0967-3849, doi: 10.1007/s10577-009-9043-0
  37. Cuccu D, Mereu M, Cannas R, Follesa M.C, Cau A. And Jereb P (2009). Morphology, biology and molecular characterizations of Opisthoteuthis calypso (Cephalopoda: Octopoda) from the Sardinian Channel (central western Mediterranean). JOURNAL OF THE MARINE BIOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION OF THE UNITED KINGDOM, vol. 89 (8), p. 1709-1715, ISSN: 0025-3154, doi: 10.1017/S0025315409000952
  38. Cuccu D, Mereu M, Cannas R, Sanna I, Cau A, Jereb P (2009). Variability in Sepietta oweniana (Cephalopoda: Sepiolidae) hectocotyli. THE ITALIAN JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY, vol. 76 (2), p. 189-193, ISSN: 1125-0003, doi: 10.1080/11250000802346241
  39. Follesa M.C, Cuccu D, Cannas R, Sabatini A, Deiana A.M, Cau A (2009). Movement patterns of the spiny lobster Palinurus elephas (Fabricius, 1787) from a central western Mediterranean protected area. SCIENTIA MARINA, vol. 73 (3), p. 499-506, ISSN: 0214-8358, doi: 10.3989/scimar.2009.73n3499
  40. Maggio T, Lo Brutto S, Cannas R, Deiana A.M, Arculeo M (2009). Environmental features of deep-sea habitats linked to the genetic population structure of a crustacean species in the Mediterranean Sea. MARINE ECOLOGY, vol. 30(3), p. 354-365, ISSN: 0173-9565, doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0485.2008.00277.x
  41. Salvadori S, Coluccia E, Cannas R, Cau A, Deiana AM (2009). A ZZ–ZW sex chromosome system in the finless eel Dalophis imberbis (Anguilliformes, Ophichtidae). GENETICA, vol. 135, p. 283-288, ISSN: 0016-6707, doi: 10.1007/s10709-008-9276-4
  42. Addis P, Dean JM, Pesci P, Locci I, Cannas R, Corrias S, Cau A (2008). Effects of local scale perturbations in the Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus L.) trap fishery of Sardinia (W. Mediterranean). FISHERIES RESEARCH, vol. 92, p. 242-254, ISSN: 0165-7836, doi: 10.1016/j.fishres.2008.01.021
  43. Sabatini A, Cannas R, Manunza A, Matta G, Palmas F, Pendugiu AA, Pesci P, Serra PF, Cau A (2009). Studio delle popolazioni di Salmo (trutta) macrostigma in due aree SIC della Sardegna. BOLLETTINO DEI MUSEI E DEGLI ISTITUTI BIOLOGICI DELL’UNIVERSITÀ DI GENOVA, vol. 71, p. 195, ISSN: 0373-4110
  44. Salvadori S, Coluccia E, Deidda F, Cannas R, Deiana AM (2009). Studio della regione telomerica in alcune famiglie di Crostacei Decapodi. BOLLETTINO DEI MUSEI E DEGLI ISTITUTI BIOLOGICI DELL’UNIVERSITÀ DI GENOVA, vol. 71, p. 198, ISSN: 0373-4110
  45. Cannas R, P. Pasolini, C. Mancusi, M.C. Follesa, S. Cabiddu, F. Hemida, F. Serena, F. Tinti (2008). Distribution, molecular systematics and phylogeography of Raja polystigma and Raja montagui in the Mediterranean. BIOLOGIA MARINA MEDITERRANEA, vol. 15 (1), p. 188-191, ISSN: 1123-4245
  46. Cannas R, Buccoli S, Sacco F, Marcias S, Salvadori S, Cau A, Deiana AM (2008). Isolation and characterization of fourteen polymorphic microsatellite markers for the blue and red shrimp Aristeus antennatus (Crustacea, Decapoda). MOLECULAR ECOLOGY RESOURCES, vol. 8, p. 1420-1422, ISSN: 1755-098X, doi: 10.1111/j.1755-0998.2008.02183.x
  47. Colli L, Cannas R, La Fata I, Deiana A.M, Tagliavini J (2008). Caratterizzazione aplotipica di donnole (Mustela nivalis) italiane. HYSTRIX, vol. (n.s.) Supp, ISSN: 0394-1914
  48. Coluccia E, Deiana A, M, Cannas R, Pichiri G, Salvadori S (2008). Karyotype characterization and comparison in moray eels (Anguilliformes, Muraenidae). CHROMOSOME RESEARCH, vol. 16 (7), p. 1061, ISSN: 0967-3849
  49. Follesa MC, Cannas R, Gastoni A, Cabiddu S, Deiana A.M, Cau A (2008). Abnormal rostrum in Polycheles typhlops heller, 1862 (Decapoda: Polychelidae) from the central western Mediterranean. JOURNAL OF CRUSTACEAN BIOLOGY, vol. 28(4), p. 731-734, ISSN: 0278-0372, doi: 10.1651/08-2987.1
  50. Follesa MC, Cuccu D, Cannas R, Cabiddu S, Murenu M, Sabatini A, Cau A (2008). Effects of marine reserve protection on spiny lobster (Palinurus elephas Fabr., 1787) in a central western Mediterranean area. HYDROBIOLOGIA, vol. 606, p. 63-68, ISSN: 0018-8158, doi: 10.1007/s10750-008-9346-8
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