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Department of Invertebrate Zoology

Images of marine gastrotrich (Draculiciteria tesselata) at light- (left), and confocal laser scanning microscopy (right).

Interstitial marine gastrotrich (Draculiciteria tesselata) at light- (left), and confocal laser scanning microscopy (right).

bar photo of Francesca Leasi

Francesca LeasiPostdoctoral Fellow

  • Phone: 202-633-1782
  • Fax: 202-633-0182
  • E-mail:
  • Mailing Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    PO Box 37012, MRC 163
    Washington, DC 20013-7012

  • Courier Delivery Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    National Museum of Natural History
    10th and Constitution Ave, NW
    Washington, DC 20560-0163

    Responsibilities: Postdoctoral Fellow

    Education: 2007. PhD in Evolutionary Biology at University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Italy)
    2002. Biological Science Master Degree at University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Italy)

    Previous Postdoctoral positions:

    2009-2010. University of Milan (Italy)
    2011-2012. Imperial College London (UK)
    2012-2013. Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia (PA, USA)

    Research Interests:
    Microscopic animals – meiofauna: diversity and distribution; morphological and molecular phylogeny; taxonomy; evolutionary history reconstructions; biogeography; phylogeography; functional anatomy; DNA-barcode.

    Professional Activities:
    Editor of Marine Rotifera for Encyclopedia of Life

    Selected Publications:

    Leasi, Francesca, Tang, Cuong Q, De Smet, Willem H, Fontaneto, Diego (2013) Cryptic diversity with wide salinity tolerance in the putative euryhaline Testudinella clypeata (Rotifera, Monogononta). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. doi: 10.1111/zoj.12020.

    Neves, Ricardo C, Bailly, Xavier, Leasi, Francesca, Reichert, Heinrich, Sørensen, Martin V, Kristensen, Reinhardt M (2013) A complete three-dimensional reconstruction of the myoanatomy of Loricifera: comparative morphology of an adult and a Higgins larva stage. Frontiers in Zoology 10: 19.

    Curini-Galletti, Marco, Artois, Tom, Delogu, Valentina, De Smet, Willem H, Fontaneto, Diego, Jondelius, Ulf, Leasi, Francesca, Martínez, Alejandro, Meyer-Wachsmuth, Inga, Nilsson, Karin S, Tongiorgi, Paolo, Worsaae, Katrine, Todaro, M Antonio (2012) Patterns of diversity in soft-bodied meiofauna: dispersal ability and body size matter. PLoS One 7, 3: e33801.

    Leasi, Francesca, Neves, Ricardo C, Worsaae, Katrine, Sørensen, Martin V (2012) Musculature of Seison nebaliae Grube, 1861 and Paraseison annulatus (Claus, 1876) revealed with CLSM: a comparative study of the gnathiferan key taxon Seisonacea (Rotifera). Zoomorphology 131, 3: 185-195.

    Tang, Cuong Q, Leasi, Francesca, Obertegger, Ulrike, Kieneke, Alexander, Barraclough, Timothy G, Fontaneto, Diego (2012) The widely used small subunit 18S rDNA molecule greatly underestimates true diversity in biodiversity surveys of the meiofauna. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109, 40: 16208-16212.

    Leasi, Francesca, Rouse, Greg W, Sørensen, Martin V (2011) A new species of Paraseison (Rotifera: Seisonacea) from the coast of California, USA. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 1, 1: 1-7.

    Leasi, Francesca, Fontaneto, Diego, Melone, Giulio (2010) Phylogenetic constraints in the muscular system of rotifer males: investigation on the musculature of males versus females of Brachionus manjavacas and Epiphanes senta (Rotifera, Monogononta). Journal of Zoology 282, 2: 109-119.

    Leasi, Francesca, Ricci, Claudia (2010) Musculature of two bdelloid rotifers, Adineta ricciae and Macrotrachela quadricornifera: organization in a functional and evolutionary perspective. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 48, 1: 33-39.

    Leasi, Francesca, Todaro, M Antonio (2009) Meiofaunal cryptic species revealed by confocal microscopy: the case of Xenotrichula intermedia (Gastrotricha). Marine biology 156, 6: 1335-1346.

    Leasi, Francesca, Todaro, M Antonio (2008) The muscular system of Musellifer delamarei (Renaud Mornant, 1968) and other chaetonotidans with implications for the phylogeny and systematization of the Paucitubulatina (Gastrotricha). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 94, 2: 379-398.

    Full Publication List

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