- Academic year: 2011
School of Environmental Sciences botany and Ecology section
University of Camerino
via Pontoni, 5 – 62032 Camerino (MC) - Italy
marco.cervellini[at]unicam [dot] it
I've started approching to scientific research with my Msc/MPhill thesis project, titled “Spatially and temporal analysis of plant biodiversity in beech coppiced forests (Marche Region, Italy)”. In this work, I study patterns of vegetation recovery after disturbances because of coppice management in beech forests and patterns of vegetation distribution at landscape level in relation with different plant edge-communities of beech forest stands. The main tasks carried out were fieldwork-based sampling of 20x20 beech-forest units assessing visually the cover of vascular plants in six vertical layers; classifying species on the basis of their similar phytocoenological roles (Social Behavior Types) and finally, integrating results by multi-variable analysis.
This important experience allowed me to begin to understand the effects of coppice management on understory plant community diversity and composition and the influence of border plant communities on the species richness of beech-forest stands, but above all the importance of good planning of the statistical methods used to analyze the field data.
After completing my MPhil degree in 2009, I left Italy to work as a research assistant at The Macaulay Land Use Research Institute (Aberdeen, UK). Under the supervision of Dr. Alessandro Gimona, I built a spatially explicit meta-community model using an existing simulating tool (FEARLUS-SPOM see: POLHILL et al. 2008) and analyzed the results I obtained. In particular, I tried to reproduce in the model colonization and extinction events of SBTs (Social Behaviour Types species) based on the connectivity of the patches and dispersal of the species, and tried to calculate the probability of colonization of a species from one patch to another.
The modeling framework was utilized also used to simulate fuel and fire risk dynamics as well as the impacts of alternative fuel treatments. To simulate the fire disturbance we took a cue from the LANDIS project which is a very detailed model of fire simulation (HONG et al. 2004). We tried to simulate how many fires would occur, when and where each fire would occur; how fires spread across the landscape from their ignition point and which species are killed on each burnt cell, depending on fire intensity.
I taught a laboratory of landscape ecology course at the second-level post-degree program, in management of the natural environment and protected areas, as a faculty member in the Science department at the University of Camerino. This was related to the use of “Fragstat “software and various GIS applications.