Alessandro Massolo

Alessandro Massolo
Università di Pisa | UNIPI · Ethology Unit - Department of Biology

PhD (Animal biology [Zoology])
Behavioural ecology, behavoiur and ecology of terrestrial mammals, ecological network analysis

About

171
Publications
41,126
Reads
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3,978
Citations
Citations since 2016
65 Research Items
2170 Citations
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20162017201820192020202120220100200300400
Introduction
I am a biologist with a strong interest in animal ecology and in complex systems. My work has spanned across many disciplines, from ethology, animal ecology to ecological modelling and biomedicine. Nonetheless, my main area is the ecology of large mammalian terrestrial communities and of their dynamics and the determinants of their equilibrium. I am currently working on the effect of parasitism on predator-prey relations in wild canids at the interface of wildlife, domestic animals and people, using the Echinococcus spp. and their hosts as model species. My approach is integrated across many disciplines (biology, ecology, animal and human medicine and social sciences and mathematics) and it is consequently widely (and wildly!) collaborative.
Additional affiliations
January 2017 - present
Università di Pisa
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
July 2015 - December 2016
The University of Calgary
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
November 2008 - June 2015
The University of Calgary
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
Education
September 2006 - October 2008
Università della Calabria
Field of study
  • Ecology
September 2005 - October 2008
University of Florence
Field of study
  • Biology and Ecology
July 2000 - June 2004
University of Florence
Field of study
  • Zoology

Publications

Publications (171)
Article
Traditional epidemiological models for managing disease risk face serious hurdles when applied to complex life-cycle parasites that involve several host species. Echinococcus multilocularis (Em) is such a parasite and the aetiological agent of a serious zoonosis, Alveolar Echinococcosis, affecting thousands of people every year worldwide. The paras...
Article
1. Alpine grasslands above the treeline are severely threatened by climate change, mainly due to forest expansion driven by warmer conditions. Analogous lowland grasslands experience severe reductions due to land-use abandonment and forest encroachment. 2. To address how climate change impacted open-areas insects, we used Parnassius apollo as a mod...
Article
Full-text available
Muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus) are competent intermediate hosts for Echinococcus multilocularis, are frequently infected with this zoonotic cestode, and have even been proposed as a target species to monitor endemicity levels of this parasite. However, their contribution to maintaining the parasitic lifecycle is still unclear. To obtain data on infe...
Preprint
Full-text available
Contamination of public parks by dogs is a potential source of conflict among park users, causing “tragedy of commons” problems. Besides the social conflict, feces can pose serious health risks to both dogs and humans. In this study we analyzed the extent and patterns of the distribution of dog feces in the urban parks of the City of Calgary. We co...
Article
Factors influencing annual and seasonal abundance of Culicoides sonorensis (Wirth and Jones) (Diptera; Ceratopogonidae) were examined at 10 sites in southern Alberta using negative binomial regression. Annual abundance varied among locations with greatest abundance in a narrow geographic band between −112.17 and −112.64°W longitude and 49.32 and 50...
Article
Full-text available
The use of zebrafish embryos for personalized medicine has become increasingly popular. We present a co-clinical trial aiming to evaluate the use of zPDX (zebrafish Patient-Derived Xenografts) in predicting the response to chemotherapy regimens used for colorectal cancer patients. zPDXs are generated by xenografting tumor tissues in two days post-f...
Poster
Full-text available
Analogous lowland grasslands experience severe reductions due to land-use abandonment and forest encroachment. To address how climate change impacted open-areas insects, we modelled upper Pleistocene range changes of a butterfly with wide Palearctic distribution inhabiting both alpine and low-altitude steppe grasslands, Parnassius apollo. We covere...
Article
Full-text available
To preserve the long-term survival of habitats and wildlife, it is necessary to monitor their status. In protected areas, that is, biodiversity centres, rangers have excellent knowledge of specific locations and they spend a large amount of time in the field. But since rangers are not required to have a university degree, the question is whether th...
Article
Full-text available
Surveillance of Echinococcus multilocularis at the edge of its range is hindered by fragmented distributional patterns and low prevalence in definitive hosts. Thus, tests with adequate levels of sensitivity are especially important for discriminating between infected and non-infected areas. In this study we reassessed the prevalence of E . multiloc...
Article
Zoonotic cestodes of the genus Echinococcus show marked differences in their distribution patterns which have not been satisfactorily explained. Echinococcus multilocularis is limited to the Holarctic, whereas species in the Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato (s.l.) complex mostly have a worldwide distribution. We proposed and tested a ‘bridge effe...
Article
Full-text available
Background This study aimed to fill a gap of knowledge by providing a quantitative measure of molecularly identified species and genotypes belonging to Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato ( s.l. ) causing human cystic echinococcosis (CE) in Europe during the period 2000–2021. As these species and genotypes are characterized by genetic, animal host a...
Article
Echinococcus multilocularis is a zoonotic tapeworm, whose metacestode larval stage is the etiological agent for alveolar echinococcosis in humans and is a parasite of emerging concern according to the World Health Organization which is difficult to diagnose and has a case mortality rate of >90% when left untreated. Echinococcus multilocularis requi...
Thesis
Full-text available
In the alpine ecosystems across mountainous ranges, open areas are threatened by forest expansion, whether it is caused by natural succession or afforestation by human activities. During the last century, the abandonment of the grazing land and the banning of grazing by cattle in some areas, brought many pastures to become shrubby. Thus, reducing t...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background Surveillance of E. multilocularis at the edge of its range is hindered by fragmented distributional patterns and low prevalence and burden in definitive hosts. Thus, tests with adequate levels of sensitivity are especially important for discriminating between infected and non-infected areas. Aim We reassessed the prevalence of E. multil...
Article
Full-text available
Multi-species feeding associations (MSFAs) are temporary communities of animals exploiting the same or co-occurrent resources. Their dynamics are species dependent, often creating competitive interactions, but they can also increase foraging efficiency and ultimately individual fitness. The foraging behaviors of some species can enhance prey captur...
Preprint
Full-text available
Understanding spatial and temporal variations of habitat suitability is fundamental for species’ conservation under global change. Steppic species are particularly sensitive to anthropogenic change and have undergone large declines in the last decades. We aimed to describe current and future breeding habitat suitability for the Eurasian stone-curle...
Article
Full-text available
Behavioral interference and interspecific competition shape the spatiotemporal behavior of carnivores, where intra-guild predation has been recorded as a strategy to limit competition. Very often, disentangling the effect of intra-guild effects from other ecological processes is challenging, if not impossible. This work aimed to assess the spatiote...
Article
Full-text available
In a fast-changing and globalized world, parasites are moved across continents at an increasing pace. Co-invasion of parasites and their hosts is leading to the emergence of infectious diseases at a global scale, underlining the need for integration of biological invasions and disease ecology research. In this review, the ecological and evolutionar...
Article
Full-text available
It is increasingly evident the necessity of new predictive tools for the treatment of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma in a personalized manner. We present a co-clinical trial testing the predictiveness of zPDX (zebrafish patient-derived xenograft) for assessing if patients could benefit from a therapeutic strategy (ClinicalTrials.gov: XenoZ, NCT03...
Article
A key element to understanding parasite epidemiology is assessing their prevalence in the respective wild reservoir hosts. The tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis circulates between canid species (definite hosts) and small mammals (mostly rodents; intermediate hosts). Prevalence rates of Echinococcus multilocularis in the intermediate host are mos...
Article
Pelagic seabirds are tied to their breeding colonies throughout their long‐lasting breeding season, but at the same time, they have to feed in a highly dynamic marine environment where prey abundance and availability rapidly change across space and seasons. Here, we describe the foraging movements of yelkouan shearwater Puffinus yelkouan, a seabird...
Article
Full-text available
Echinococcus multilocularis (Em) is a zoonotic parasite considered a global emergent pathogen. Recent findings indicate that the parasite is expanding its range in North America and that European-type haplotypes are circulating in western Canada. However, genetic analyses are usually conducted only on a few parasites out of thousands of individuals...
Article
Full-text available
The increase in the average air temperature due to global warming has produced an early onset of the reproduction in many migratory birds of the Paleartic region. According to the ‘mismatch hypothesis’ this response can lead to a decrease in the breeding output when the conditions that trigger the departure from the wintering areas do not match the...
Article
Human alveolar echinococcosis (AE) is a zoonotic cestode infection which is usually fatal in the absence of treatment. Treatment involves major surgery or indefinite antiparasitic therapy. The incidence is rising in Europe and Asia, with an increased risk observed in immunocompromised individuals. Previously, AE acquisition in North America was ext...
Article
Full-text available
Echinococcus multilocularis, the aetiological agent of human Alveolar Echinococcosis (AE), is transmitted between small mammals and wild or domestic canids. Dogs infected with E. multilocularis can transmit this infection to humans and can themselves be infected with canine AE as dead-end hosts. Whereas E. multilocularis infections in wild hosts an...
Article
Full-text available
Where allochthonous large mammals, such as the wild boars, occur in high density, human-wildlife conflicts may arise. Thus, assessing their spatio-temporal patterns is paramount to their management. We studied the wild boars on Elba island, Italy, where they have been introduced and are perceived as pests to address their occurrence and impact of f...
Article
Full-text available
Rapid climate warming in the Arctic results in multifaceted disruption of biodiversity, faunal structure, and ecosystem health. Hypotheses have linked range expansion and emergence of parasites and diseases to accelerating warming globally but empirical studies demonstrating causality are rare. Using historical data and recent surveys as baselines,...
Article
Giardia spp. and Cryptosporidium spp. are common gastrointestinal parasites with the potential for zoonotic transmission. This study aimed to (1) determine the genotypes occurring in dogs and coyotes occupying a similar urban area; (2) determine if these hosts were infected with potentially zoonotic genotypes; (3) provide baseline molecular data. I...
Article
Juvenile social play contributes to the development of adult social and emotional skills in humans and non-human animals and is therefore a useful endpoint to study the effects of endocrine disrupters on behavior in animal models. Ethinylestradiol ( EE2), a widely produced, powerful synthetic estrogen is widespread in the environment mainly because...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction: It is acknowledged that any claim of efficacy of allergen immunotherapy must be done for each specific product, and this remains true also for venom immunotherapy (VIT). Thus, we evaluated the efficacy and safety of a specific tyrosine-adsorbed VIT for vespula spp. and honeybee in real-life. Methods: Consecutive patients diagnosed...
Presentation
Full-text available
14th Workshop of the NRLs for Parasites 23-24 May 2019 ISS, Rome, Italy
Article
Full-text available
Background Echinococcus multilocularis (Em) is a parasite with a complex life cycle whose transmission involves a predator-prey interaction. Accidental ingestion of Em eggs by humans may cause alveolar echinococcosis, a potentially fatal disease. Although previous research suggested that the composition of the assemblage of prey species may play a...
Article
Full-text available
Waterborne outbreaks of infectious disease continue to be a public health risk, particularly those in areas where testing of private and public small system groundwater systems is left to the owners/overseers of these wells who may not recognize the importance of testing and treatment. Recognizing factors associated with contamination of wells is i...
Article
Full-text available
Efficient and sensitive diagnostic tools are essential for the study of the eco-epidemiology of Echinococcus species. We evaluated an automated magnetic bead-based DNA extraction commercial kit followed by qPCR (MB-qPCR), for the detection of Echinococcus multilocularis and Echinococcus canadensis in coyote (Canis latrans) fecal samples. The diagno...
Article
Definitive hosts of Neospora caninum are species of canids, such as domestic dogs ( Canis lupus familiaris), coyotes ( Canis latrans) and foxes (XXXXXXX), whereas ruminants, such as cattle ( Bos taurus), sheep ( Ovis aries), and deer (Cervidae) serve as intermediate hosts. We investigated the presence of N. caninum in feces of coyotes in Calgary, A...
Article
Full-text available
The European distribution of Echinococcus multilocularis has been reported to be expanding east and north, whereas its southern limits are deemed stable. During a study on Echinococcus granulosus s.l. infections in wolves and dogs in the Italian Maritime Alps, we unexpectedly detected the presence of E. multilocularis eggs in four fecal samples fro...
Article
Neospora caninum (N. caninum) is a coccidian parasite with a complex life cycle (i.e. it requires multiple host species to complete its cycle) and a wide host range. Its main definitive hosts are different species of canids such as dogs, coyotes and foxes, whereas ruminants such as cattle, sheep, and deer serve as intermediate host. To date, no stu...
Article
Full-text available
Juvenile social play contributes to the development of adult social and emotional skills in humans and non-human animals, and is therefore a useful endpoint to study the effects of endocrine disrupters on behavior in animal models. Ethinylestradiol (EE2) is a widely produced, powerful synthetic estrogen that is widespread in the environment mainly...
Article
Full-text available
Background In ascertained allergic sensitization to Vespa crabro (VC) venom, the European guidelines still consider venom immunotherapy (VIT) with Vespula (VE) venom sufficient to achieve an adequate protection against VC. However, antigen 5 immunoblotting studies showed that a genuine sensitization to VC venom may exist. In such cases, a specific...
Article
Full-text available
The continued monitoring of Echinococcus species in intermediate and definitive hosts is essential to understand the eco-epidemiology of this parasites, as well to assess their potential impact on public health. In Canada, co-infections of Echinococcus canadensis and Echinococcus multilocularis based on genetic characterization has been recently re...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Allergen-specific immunotherapy (AIT) still remains the only causal treatment for IgE mediated respiratory diseases (rhinitis/asthma) In addition to the observed clinical decrease in symptoms, AIT can provide a long-lasting and preventive effect. In particular it can modify the progression from rhinitis to asthma. Methods: The study...
Article
Full-text available
Accurate detection and classification of predation events is important to determine predation and consumption rates by predators. However, obtaining this information for large predators is constrained by the speed at which carcasses disappear and the cost of field data collection. To accurately detect predation events, researchers have used GPS col...
Article
The current study evaluated equine endometrial explants following 12, 24, and 48 hours in culture. Measurement of an indicator of cell death in explant supernatant, light microscopy, and gene expression of biomarkers of endometrial function and cellular stress, were used to compare the effect of six different media on explant viability and morpholo...
Article
With increasing stress on our water resources and recent waterborne disease outbreaks, understanding the epidemiology of waterborne pathogens is crucial to build surveillance systems. The purpose of this study was to explore techniques for describing microbial water quality in rural drinking water wells, based on spatiotemporal analysis, time serie...
Chapter
The genus Echinococcus is composed of eight generally recognized species and one genotypic cluster (Echinococcus canadensis cluster) that may in future be resolved into one to three species. For each species, we review existing information on transmission routes and life cycles in different geographical contexts and – where available – include basi...
Article
A new method, based on a magnetic capture based DNA extraction followed by qPCR, was developed for the detection of the zoonotic parasite Echinococcus multilocularis in definitive hosts. Latent class analysis was used to compare this new method with the currently used phenol-chloroform DNA extraction followed by single tube nested PCR. In total, 60...
Article
In this natural experiment, we investigated on-leash and off-leash policies as plausible influences on the behavior of dog-walkers in the City of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Following policy-mandated public consultations, two of the four parks initially proposed by the City as sites for new off-leash areas retained on-leash designations. Within a yea...
Article
Full-text available
Migratory movements and alteration of host communities through livestock production are examples of ecological processes that may have consequences on wildlife pathogens. We studied the effect of co-grazing of cattle and wild elk, and of elk migratory behaviour on the occurrence of the giant liver fluke, Fascioloides magna, in elk. Migratory elk an...
Data
Fascioloides magna antigen preparation, western blot, enzyme linked immuno sorbent assay protocols, and essay validation. (DOCX)