I am a behavioural ecologist interested in the causes and consequences of individual differences in behaviour and cognition, and particularly in their role in coping with environmental challenges and changes.
My research focuses on the influence of behavioural and cognitive characteristics in the successful establishment and permanence in human-altered environments. Specifically, I study:
- the role of individual variation and plasticity in behavioural and cognitive traits (e.g. learning, innovation, neophobia, sociability, risk-taking, exploration and spatial navigation) in dealing with environmental challenges, exploiting current human-induced rapid environmental change and urbanization as “large-scale experiments”;
- how individual strategies to acquire and use information affect cognitive trade-offs (e.g. speed and flexibility of learning), information transmission and decision-making;
- the neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying responses to environmental contexts that differ in the degree of stability, novelty and human-disturbance.
My research involves long-term field studies in Germany and Italy, and controlled experiments under natural, semi-natural and laboratory conditions.