Population Ecology

Inside the general public and the scientific community there is a growing awareness of the ecological problems at the planet level. Indeed also governments are trying to pave the road to solution, via the Convention of Biological Diversity, the Kyoto agreement and the European Natura 2000 program.

We strongly believe that the science of complexity can be used to improve our knowledge about ecosystems by developing an integrated approach to their study. The research is developed on three main axes where the interaction among physicists and ecologists is quite intense. The first axis refer to a classical argument of mathematical ecology, i.e. the development of dynamic models of ecosystems addressed to the study of poorly studied trophic interactions, such as scavenging, or as a theory to develop appropriate tools for the adaptive management of ecosystems and animal species. An important pillar of adaptive management, the second axis of research, requests also to develop monitoring methods for animal and plant species and specific experimental and statistical studies are going to be developed. This study is fundamental for dealing with problems such as the spreading of infective diseases and for population control. The third axis is the study of animal movement, often experimentally recordered using GPS loggers. The study interests different animal taxa, such as mollusks, large ungulates and pelagic birds and is centered on the application random walk theory to animal movements with a special emphasis on Lévy flights, a very controversial but promising approach. Further, we cooperate with many other European teams to store and analyze movement data relative to roe and red deer and to wild boar where data investigation and storage is done in the framework of the EUROUNGULATES initiative.