Current Research and Scholarly Interests
I am a population biologist and my primary research interest is the use of ecological theory, particularly life history-based models, in population dynamics and management. I make use of advanced mathematical and computational techniques to analyse a wide variety of ecological problems ranging from the identification of basic first-principles in the ecology of infectious diseases, to the analysis of costs and benefits of alternative policies for natural resource management in a multi-objective, multi-attribute framework, to the investigation of population dynamics and extinction risk in endangered populations. I dedicated a considerable effort to assess the effect of anthopogenic pressures as well as of ecological and environmental heterogeneities - including temperature, oxygen and pH anomalies - on population dynamics and management of marine resources and to estimate key parameters that may be incorporated into population models useful for decision-making. I have been working for more than two decades on the demography and management of the European eel (A. anguilla) and, more recently, the conservation of marble trout (S. marmoratus), the optimal bioeconomic management of mollusc farming, the problem of algal bloom control in Adriatic coastal lagoons and the development of Rapid Assessment Methods to assess the status of coastal lagoons. I am currently investigating how the interaction between networks of Marine Protected Areas and different schemes of fishery management might impact the resilience, productivity and persistence of the abalone fisheries in Baja California, Mexico under alternative scenarios of climate change, including increase frequency and intensity of low oxygen, low pH and variable temperature.
I recently started to work on the bio-control of schistosomiasis in Senegal with dr. Sanna Sokolow and I keep working with Luca Bolzoni on the optimal control of infectious diseases in the wildlife and in farmed animals.
My interest for pursuing solutions for a more sustainable world brought me to take a non-academic, governmental job from 2001 to 2004 as director of the Program for Technological Innovation and Sustainable Development for the Environmental Protection Agency of the Lombardy region (Italy), where I developed agreements with business and industrial associations to foster the adoption of environmental management schemes and to improve corporate environmental performances.
I am currently associated editor of Ecology Letters and reviewers for several ecological journals. From 1999 to 2005 I was president of the Italian Association of Environmental Engineering (AIAT), member of the administration board of WWF Italy (2005-2007) and, from 2007 to 2012, chair of the Ethics and Sustainability Committee of Eurizon Capital, the investment management company of Intesa SanPaolo, the first Italian Bank. In the effort to increase awareness about the threats imposed by climate change and to foster actions to curb emissions, increase energy efficiency and saving, I wrote a book “Energia e Salute della Terra” (Energy and Planet Health, Fondazione Boroli publisher) that was distributed to 40 thousands students in high schools and colleges in Italy.
I hold a BE in Civil Engineering and a MS in Environmental Engineering from Politecnico di Milano (1989, Italy), a PhD in Applied Ecology from the Universities of Ferrara and Parma (1993, Italy) a three years research experience at Princeton University (1994-1996) and three more years (1996-1998) back to Politecnico di Milano . After more than a decade at the University of Parma, in 2012 I happily moved to Stanford as full time faculty.