Why do animals behave the way they do? Why certain individuals eat always first, while others in the group have to wait their turn? These are questions that I have asked myself ever since I can remember. I have always had a keen interest in animals. Some of my earliest memories were collecting little creatures from my daycare’s yard, or begging my parents for buying more animals to add to my live collection. You name it and I have probably had it… goats, parrots, tortoises, fishes, frogs, bats, pigeons, chickens, guinea pigs, rabbits.. and all on the balcony of our apartment in the centre of Rome! That was my first lab. So I guess it is no surprise that I decided to study animal behaviour for living.
I’m a husband, father of two, son, brother, traveler, and breeder of tortoises.
My expertise lies in behavioural ecology, evolutionary biology, and ethorobotics (using robots to study the behaviour of animals). I had the opportunity to work in four different countries, forging strong collaborative links with international researchers and continue to expand my network of collaborators.
I am one of the inaugural Forrest Fellows of the Forrest Research Foundation, and I am based at The University of Western Australia (UWA) in the School of Biological Sciences. I am affiliated with the EVOlab, led by Prof. Jon Evans, in the Centre of Evolutionary Biology (CEB) at UWA. I also have ongoing collaborations with other groups in the CEB and outside UWA. More information on my current research can be found on my Research page.
Before moving to Australia, I completed a six-months postdoc and my PhD (Life Sciences, December 2016) at the Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany, conducting my research at the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) in Berlin. There, I studied the ecological consequences of fish behavioural types, working with world leading experts on fish behaviour, ecology, and evolution.
Before my PhD, I was a senior biologist in Prof. Maurizio Porfiri’s lab at The New York University Tandon School of Engineering (2012 to 2013). I was the first biologist to join his lab (2011), and my research has uncovered the determinants of social behaviour in fishes using biologically-inspired robotic fish.
I have also obtained a MSc (management, access and conservation of species in trade: the international framework) at the International University of Andalucía in Spain, a MSc (ecological biology) and two BSc (life sciences, and biological sciences) at the Sapienza University of Rome in Italy. I currently have 32 peer-reviewed publications and have attracted global media attention for my research.