Dr. Valentina Di Santo

Assistant Professor of Functional Morphology

Division of Functional Morphology

Bolin Centre for Climate Research

Department of Zoology

Stockholm University

valentina.disanto (at) zoologi.su.se

twitter: @valedisanto

Google Scholar Page

Valentina is a fish ecophysiologist and biomechanist. She was born in La Spezia, a town by the sea in Italy. She studied Natural Sciences and Conservation Biology at the University of Firenze in Italy. Her love for fishes brought her to the University of West Florida where she studied the effect of temperature on digestion rates and efficiency in stingrays and sharks. She then moved to Boston University to study in the Marine Program for her PhD, where she quantified the effects of ocean acidification and warming on little skate development, energetics and escape performance. At Boston University she also studied the effect of body size on thermal sensitivity in cleaner gobies from Florida and Belize. During that time, she conducted field work and taught several classes in the Marine Semester in Belize. After completing her PhD, she worked in George Lauder's Lab at Harvard University as a Postdoctoral Fellow, where she focused her research on biomechanics of fish locomotion. At Stockholm University, she combines eco-physiology and biomechanics tools to understand how fishes adjust their locomotor behavior when challenged by abiotic factors, such as temperature, pH, oxygen, and flow. 

Outside the lab, Valentina enjoys music, improving her ukulele playing skills, swimming and surfing.

Graduate Students

Guadalupe Sepúlveda Rodríguez

PhD Student

Guadalupe was born in Mexico City, Mexico, but spent her childhood exploring the ocean in Zihuatanejo, a small fishing town off the Pacific Coast of Mexico. Her fascination for the ocean grew over time and she set her mind to becoming a marine biologist. Her dreams became a reality when she completed her BSc in Marine Science and Biology with a minor in Environmental Science at the University of Tampa and her MSc in Freshwater and Marine Biology at the University of Amsterdam. She is now a PhD student at Stockholm University in the Di Santo Lab. Her research goals include shedding light into the effects of climate change stressors on the physiology and biomechanics of fish locomotion and understanding the mechanisms that drive species to acclimate and adapt to changing environments. Currently, she is investigating the effect of speed on collective behavior in schooling and shoaling fishes. During her free time, Guadalupe enjoys doing yoga, swimming, diving, hiking and learning new languages.

Irene Villanueva Sanz

Master Student

Irene was born in Madrid, Spain. She completed her undergraduate degree in Biology at the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM). While an undergraduate at UCM she obtained the Erasmus Fellowship  to study at Lund University in Sweden in 2019. Currently, she is a  Master student in Ethology at Stockholm University (2019-2021). She is interested in animal behavior, physiology and adaptations to environmental variations. In the Lab, she is investigating the effect of climate change stressors on behavior and physiology, particularly during collective motion such as schooling behavior.

Hayley McDermott

Master Student

Originally from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Hayley is now a first year Master student in Ethology at Stockholm University. She has previously studied at Háskóli íslands in Reykjavik, Iceland and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Anthropology, with a minor in Biological Sciences from the George Washington University in Washington, DC. She is interested in the ontogeny of sharks and other cartilaginous fishes. 

Undergraduate Students

Rebecca Bridge

Erasmus Student

 

Rebecca is originally from Warrington, England. She studies Marine Biology & Zoology + International Experience at Bangor University, North Wales and joined the Di Santo Lab as part of her final year as an undergraduate. Her interests surround the impact of climate change stressors on marine animal physiology and behavior. In the lab, Rebecca will be undertaking research on the effect of temperature in fish schooling behavior and assisting her fellow lab members with their projects. During her spare time, she likes rock climbing, yoga and hiking.

Lab Alumni

Matilda Vilmar  - Undergraduate Student

Effect of ocean warming and ocean acidification on elasmobranch locomotion

Belén Navarro Rivero - Master Student

Schooling behavior in forage fishes

Thao Vu - Undergraduate Student

Sexual dimorphism in the visual system of deep sea fishes

Annika Samuelson - Undergraduate Student

Maneuvering and unsteady swimming in Little skate

Anna Tran - Undergraduate Student

Effect of hypoxia on activity and metabolic rates of skate embryos

The Di Santo Lab at Stockholm University

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