Tullia Isotta Terraneo, Ph.D.

Research Scientists

Research Scientist

Research Interests

​Tullia received her BS in Biology in 2013 from the University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy, where she worked in the Marine Biodiversity lab under the supervision of Dr. Francesca Benzoni. During her undergraduate years, she strengthened her passion for the marine world and contributed to several projects focusing on the phylogeny of the Scleractinian coral family Lobophylliidae. She conducted her thesis on the molecular systematics of the Scleractinian coral genus Pocillopora. 


After graduating, Tullia spent some time as a visiting scholar in Academia Sinica (Taipei, Taiwan) in Dr. Allen Chen’s lab, working on a population genetics project where she used microsatellite markers to study the genus Acropora. In October 2013, she was invited by her former supervisor, Dr. Benzoni, to participate in the Saudi Arabian coral reef biodiversity project which is led by Dr. Berumen, and, within the context of this project, she started working on the taxonomic revision of the Scleractinian coral family Agariciidae.​ 


After the inspiring experience of participating in this project, Tullia was excited to apply to KAUST to pursue a Master’s degree in Marine Science and to join the Reef Ecology Lab. In the last year prior to her move to KAUST, she also spent one year collaborating with her home institution and the MaRHE Center (Magoodhoo, Maldives). Her current research interests are still focused on Scleractinian coral taxonomy and evolution.​​

Selected Publications

  • Environmental latitudinal gradients and host‐specificity shape Symbiodiniaceae distribution in Red Sea Porites cora... 
    T.I. Terraneo, M. Fusi, B.C.C. Hume, R. Arrigoni, C.R. Voolstra, F. Benzoni, Z.H. Forsman,...
    Journal of Biogeography, (2019)
  • Using ezRAD to reconstruct the complete mitochondrial genome of Porites fontanesii (Cnidaria: Scleractinia) 
    T.I. Terraneo, R. Arrigoni, F. Benzoni, Z.H. Forsman and M.L. Berumen
    Mitochondrial DNA Part B Resources, (2018)
  • Exploring the genetic diversity of shallow-water Agariciidae (Cnidaria: Anthozoa) from the Saudi Arabian Red Sea 
    Terraneo, T. I., Arrigoni, R., Benzoni, F., Tietbohl, M. D., & Berumen, M. L.
    Marine Biodiversity, (2017)
  • Forgotten in the taxonomic literature: resurrection of the scleractinian coral genus Sclerophyllia (Scleractinia, L... 
    R. Arrigoni, M. Berumen, T. Terraneo, A. Caragnano, J. Bouwmeester, F. Benzoni 
    Systematics and Biodiversity, volume 13, issue 2, 13, pp. 140-163, (2015)
  • Pachyseris inattesa sp. n. (Cnidaria, Anthozoa, Scleractinia): a new reef coral species from the Red Sea and its ph... 
    T.I. Terraneo, M.L. Berumen, R. Arrigoni, Z. Waheed, J. Bouwmeester, A. Caragnano, F. Stef...
    ZooKeys, 433: 130, (2014)
  • Evolutionary biogeography of the reef-building coral genus Galaxea across the Indo-Pacific ocean 
    Wepfer, Patricia H., Yuichi Nakajima, Makamas Sutthacheep, Veronica Z. Radice, Zoe Richard...
    Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 106905, (2020)


  • Ph.D., Red Sea Research Center, KAUST, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, 2019
  • ​​B.Sc., Biology, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milano, Italy, 2013

Professional Profile

  • 2020 - Present: Postdoctoral Fellow, Red Sea Research Center, KAUST, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia

KAUST Affiliations

  • ​Red Sea Research Center (RSRC)

Research Interests Keywords

Biodiversity Evolution Systematics Genetics Taxonomy Sequencing DNA DNA sequencing