Research interest

My research focuses on different aspects of interactions between trees and associated organisms with the ultimate goal to improve biosecurity and forest health.

Currently, I am studying:
(1) factors that explain vertical transmission of fungi from seeds to seedlings
(2) efficacy of different seed treatments for reducing viable fungi in traded seeds
(3) utilisation of RNA amplicon sequencing for the assessment of viable seed-borne fungi

The results of these studies will improve our understanding of risks associated with seed trade and will contribute to better risk mitigation. This work builds up on my PhD project which focused on exploring the factors that influence the differences in diversity of tree-associated fungi and insects on large-scales, and how this knowledge can be implemented to mitigate the risk of introduction of potentially harmful organisms via plant trade.

Work History


  • 07/2016 - 03/2020 - PhD in Ecology and Evolution
    University of Bern, Faculty of Science, PhD program in Ecology and Evolution (CH)
  • 09/2010 - 02/2013 - Master of Science in Ecology and Nature Preservation
    University of Zagreb, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology, Zagreb (HR)
  • 09/2007 - 09/2010 - University Bachelor of Environmental Sciences
    University of Zagreb, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology, Zagreb (HR)

Selected Publications

Franić I, Prospero S, …, Eschen R (2022) Worldwide diversity of endophytic fungi and insects associated with dormant tree twigs. Scientific Data.

Franić I, Eschen R, Allan E, Schneider S, Hartmann M, Prospero S (2020) Drivers of richness and community composition of fungal endophytes of tree seeds. FEMS Microbiology Ecology.

Franić I, Prospero S, Hartmann M, Allan E, Auger-Rozenberg M-A, Grünwald N J, Kenis M, Roques A, Schneider S, Sniezko R, Williams W, Eschen R (2019) Are traded forest tree seeds a potential source of nonnative pests? Ecological Applications.

Eschen R, De Groot M, Glavendekić M, Lacković N, Matošević D, Morales-Rodriguez C, O’ Hanlon R, Oskay F, Papazova I, Prospero S, Franić I (2019) Spotting the pests of tomorrow—Sampling designs for detection of species associations with woody plants. Journal of Biogeography.

Morales-Rodríguez C, Anslan S, Auger-Rozenberg M-A, Augustin S, Baranchikov Y, Bellahirech A, Burokienė D, Čepukoit D, Çota E, Davydenko K, Doğmuş Lehtijärvi HT, Drenkhan R, Drenkhan T, Eschen R, Franić I, Glavendekić M, de Groot M, Kacprzyk M, Kenis M, Kirichenko N, Matsiakh I, Musolin DL, Nowakowska JA, O’Hanlon R, Prospero S, Roques A, Santini A, Talgø V, Tedersoo L, Uimari A, Vannini A, Witzell J, Woodward S, Zambounis A, Cleary M (2019) Forewarned is forearmed: harmonized approaches for early detection of potentially invasive pests and pathogens in sentinel plantings. NeoBiota 47: 95–123.