Let’s talk about you: what is your background, what do you teach, and what are your research interests?
I graduated in Biological Sciences at the University of Parma (1996) and then took my PhD in Environmental Sciences at the Ca' Foscari University of Venice, where I now teach Fundamentals of Biology, Biodiversity Laboratory and Wildlife Biology and Management. I belong to the BIO/05 disciplinary area, Zoology, and my research interests include Ecology, Ethology and Evolution, with a focus on the nektonic fauna of transitional environments.
What was your academic career?
After graduating in Biological Sciences and taking a PhD in Environmental Sciences, I received a postgraduate fellowship abroad (held at the University of Helsinki, Finland) and several research grants. I was a University Researcher (RU) from 2006 to 2014, Associate Professor of Zoology from 2014 to 2020 and since December 2020 I have been Full Professor of Zoology.
What are your professional references?
Konrad Lorenz, Edward O. Wilson, Niko Tinbergen and Danilo Mainardi are great names in biology that I have studied. They have a keen interest in animal behaviour and biological evolution, with an important focus on nature conservation and biodiversity.
What were your greatest professional satisfactions?
Observing and discovering new insights into the behaviour and life cycle of animal species is my greatest satisfaction in research. In teaching, it is passing on the interest and passion for the animal kingdom and nature conservation to the next generation.
Which is the area you have always wanted to be involved in but have not yet had the opportunity to explore?
I am quite satisfied with the areas I already explore, which are large enough to be almost endless.
What is the aspect of your research you are most passionate about?
Discovering new insights into the ecology, behaviour and evolution of animal species, and applying basic knowledge to the conservation of biological diversity.
Have you always known that this was going to be your path?
Always, since I was a child.
What do teaching and researching mean to you?
Teaching means transmitting a passion for the object of study, a passion that then becomes knowledge. Researching means having a keen eye for detail, seeing new things, and then developing hypotheses to test, eventually leading to an interpretation and explanation of phenomena. Researching and teaching, in my field, also means using basic knowledge to preserve nature and enhance biological diversity, and creating awareness, education and culture on these issues, especially in younger generations.
Can you offer any advice to researchers in the early stages of their career?
Passion, motivation and dedication are the basic requirements to do research. But also feeling a mission: the most important mission would be to make our development model sustainable with the balance and integrity of the planet.