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Department of Geography


Alan Crivellaro, BSc MSc PhD

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

I study plants through the microscope to relate their minute structural details to the place where they live and to their evolutionary history. This is useful to understand plants responses to the changing climate and to identify archaeological and modern wood.


I have had a varied and exciting career to date. I started as a wood worked and furniture designer but soon moved into the academy and have since undertaken research activities in universities and research institutions in Italy, Switzerland, Estonia and the United States. After a long higher education teaching experience in Italy and the organisation of many international training schools, in 2018 I jointed the Cambridge vibrant university environment where I am now a Research Associate at the Department of Geography. My teaching remains heavily influenced by my continued external engagement, while organising and presenting high-quality resources inaccessible, coherent and imaginative ways, clearly enhance students’ learning. My research lies at the interface of plant stem anatomy to plant ecology, archaeobotany, cultural heritage and human sciences.


  • 2020-present Postdoctoral Research Assistant. Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, UK.
  • 2019-2020 Visiting Scholar. Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, UK.
  • 2019-2020 Visiting Lecturer. Institute of Forestry and Rural Engineering, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Tartu, EE.
  • 2015-2018 Assistant Professor. Department TESAF, University of Padova, IT.
  • 2017-2017 Research Associate. Trees and Timber Institute CNR-IVALSA, Firenze, IT.
  • 2015-2016 Visiting Professor. Department CReAAH, University of Maine, FR.
  • 2012-2015 Postdoctoral Research Assistant. Department TESAF, University of Padova, IT.
  • 2003-2007 Postdoctoral Research Assistant. Trees and Timber Institute CNR-IVALSA, Firenze, IT.


  • PhD Ecology, University of Padova, IT
  • MSc Forestry and Environmental Sciences, University of Padova, IT
  • BSc Wood Science and Technology, University of Padova, IT


My main current research interest is determining which biotic and environmental factors shape plant anatomical traits. My focus is at the cross-species level, at large scales. I use a combination of field-based anatomical data collection and synthesis of data from the literature.


[Publications will load automatically from the University’s publications database…]

External activities

  • Member, IAWA – International Association of Wood Anatomists
  • Member, ATR – Association of Tree-ring Research
  • Member, IBS – International Biogeography Society
  • Member, ABSW – Association of British Science Writers