Andrea Costa

Andrea Costa
Università degli Studi di Genova | UNIGE · Dipartimento di Scienze della terra, dell'ambiente e della vita (DISTAV)

PhD

About

84
Publications
18,135
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336
Citations
Additional affiliations
June 2020 - June 2022
Università degli Studi di Genova
Position
  • Research Associate

Publications

Publications (84)
Article
Population size is a fundamental state variable in ecology, and the analysis of temporal variation in abundance (i.e., detection of trends) is a prime objective in wildlife monitoring. However, population abundance cannot be directly observed because part of the population remains undetected and methods that account for imperfect detection are ofte...
Article
Full-text available
Information on population abundance is important to correctly plan conservation and management of animal populations. In general, capture-mark-recapture (CMR) is considered the most robust technique to estimate population abundance, but it is costly in terms of time and effort. Recently, binomial N-mixture models, based on counts of unmarked indivi...
Article
Full-text available
N-mixture models usually rely on a meta-population design, in which repeated counts of individuals in multiple sampling locations are obtained over time. The time-for-space substitution (TSS) in N-mixture models allows to estimate population abundance and trend of a single population, without spatial replication. This application could be of great...
Article
Full-text available
The emerging amphibian disease, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is driving population declines worldwide and even species extinctions in Australia, South and Central America. In order to mitigate effects of Bd on amphibian populations, high-exposed areas should be identified at the local scale and effective conservation measures should be plan...
Article
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Context - Disentangling the effect of environment and biological interaction on community composition with observational data, within the environmental filtering framework, is challenging because the two processes produce non independent results. Objectives - Adopting community N-mixture models with symmetric interactions, we aimed at estimating...
Article
Amphibians are small ectothermic vertebrates with high permeable skins that are highly constrained by environmental conditions, such as humidity and temperature. Therefore, terrestrial salamanders regulate their surface activity, including foraging, to minimize evaporative water loss. The influence of local micro-climatic factors on the foraging su...
Article
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Spatial distribution of animals is affected by environmental and social factors, acting both at inter- and intraspecific levels, and generating patterns of segregation or aggregation. Several studies investigated age-class segregation of the European Cave Salamander Speleomantes strinatii, in underground environments, showing a clear spatial segreg...
Article
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Reptile populations are relevant components of biodiversity in both temperate and tropical forests. However, in forest habitats reptiles are secretive and the complex structure of the environment makes it difficult to assess with confidence their abundance and density. In general, capture-mark-recapture (CMR) or distance sampling (DS) are used to e...
Article
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Aposematism is a visual communication system in which bright and contrasted coloured prey warn predators about their unprofitability. The Northern Spectacled Salamander Salamandrina perspicillata, a small terrestrial sal-amander endemic to Italy, displays a uniform dark dorsal colouration and a contrasted ventral side in which a bright red colour i...
Article
This study presents a description of Bispira riccardi sp. nov., a new habitat-forming sabellid polychaete from the mesophotic NW Mediterranean Sea. Individuals, up to 20 cm long, show a peculiar morphology of radioles, thoracic uncini, companion chaetae and ventral shield of the collar. The phylogenetic position of this new taxon in the genus Bispi...
Article
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Monitoring wild populations is an essential tool to assess the conservation status and the ecological requirements of a species. Capture–mark–recapture (CMR), based on individual recognition, is the most commonly used and most effective technique. However, in cases of species with no individual color pattern, tracing the encounter history of indivi...
Article
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Chilean Patagonia hosts one of the extensive fjord systems in the world, spanning more than 1,600 km between 41 and 55°S, and with a complex geomorphology and hydrography that supports rich and unique assemblages of marine fauna. The biodiversity of benthic organisms is possibly further enhanced by the geographic position of the region that extends...
Article
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In vertebrates, the main tissue devoted to energy storage is the adipose tissue. In salamanders, energy reserves can also be stored in the adipose tissues of the tail. Therefore, we evaluated if energy storage in salamanders' tails is related to individual body condition, life cycle and environmental constraints. We calculated a scaled measure of t...
Article
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Forest ecosystems are important providers of ecosystem functions and services belonging to four categories: supporting, provisioning, regulating and cultural ecosystem services. Forest management, generally focused on timber production, has consequences on the ability of the system to keep providing services. Silviculture, in fact, may affect the e...
Article
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Animal personality is a relatively neglected field in amphibian research. In this study we assessed the influence of stomach flushing, a non-lethal technique used in amphibian dietary studies, on the boldness behaviour of the cave salamander Speleomantes strinatii. The time of emergence from a shelter located in an unfamiliar environment (a proxy f...
Preprint
Full-text available
Forest ecosystems are important providers of ecosystem functions and services belonging to four categories: supporting, provisioning, regulating, and cultural ecosystem services. Forest management, generally focused on timber production, has consequences on the ability of the system to keep providing services. Silviculture, in fact, may affect ecol...
Article
Ecological networks, usually depicting interactions among species, have been recently down‐scaled to the individual level, permitting description of patterns of inter‐individual resource variation, that are usually hindered at the species level. Optimal diet theory (ODT) models, applied to prey‐predator systems, predict different patterns of nested...
Article
“To the zoologist, all animals are, or should be, equally interesting.” Desmond Morris, The Naked Ape (1967). In the online visual communication era, cover images are becoming the first and often the most attractive message that academic journals are delivering towards professional readers, the social media, the press and even to the general publi...
Article
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Information on the trophic ecology of the Alpine salamander, Salamandra atra, is scattered and anecdotal. We studied for the first time the trophic niche and prey availability of a population from an area located in Italian Dolomites during the first half of August. Considering that S. atra is a typical nocturnal species, we collected food availabi...
Article
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Clay models of live animals are often used by behavioral ecologists and ethologists to study prey-predator interactions under field conditions. This technique has limitations, however, and often models are displayed in the field for long periods of time without distinguishing between daytime and nighttime attacks. We compared day and night predatio...
Article
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Subterranean habitats are characterized by buffered climatic conditions in comparison to contiguous surface environments and, in general, subterranean biological communities are considered to be relatively constant. However, although several studies have described the seasonal variation of subterranean communities, few analyzed their variability ov...
Article
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The Stripeless tree-frog Hyla meridionalis reaches its eastern-most European distributional limit in NW Ita-ly, and specifically in the Cinque Terre National Park. Here for two consecutive years, we estimated tree-frog population abundance by call surveys at 24 sites. Data were analysed in the framework of N-mixture open population models based on...
Preprint
Full-text available
The Stripeless tree-frog Hyla meridionalis reaches its eastern-most European distributional limit in NW Ita-ly, and specifically in the Cinque Terre National Park. Here for two consecutive years, we estimated tree-frog population abundance by call surveys at 24 sites. Data were analysed in the framework of N-mixture open population models based on...
Article
Full-text available
In amphibians, the study of trophic niche is important to better understand the species ecological adaptation, in particular along gradients or in heterogeneous habitats. In this framework, we analysed the trophic strategies of two populations of the endemic Corsican brook newt Euproctus montanus, one living in a Mediterranean lowland and the other...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Population size is a fundamental state variable in ecology and wildlife monitoring. Classical techniques for abundance estimation, such as Capture-Mark-Recapture, are time and effort consuming. In the last decade, the analysis of repeated count data with N-mixture models gave great advantage for population abundance estimation. N-mixture models req...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
thanks to the Erasmus + trainsheep's project and the ''Mapping and distribution'' SEH grant, we carried out a research concerning eco-morphological and conservation aspects of the Corsican brook newt, Euproctus montanus. The present study consists in a comparison between two populations, one in the Campitellu-Bigorno Mediterranean area in the north...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is a pathogen that infects keratinized parts of amphibians, such as the keratodonts in larvae and the skin in adults. Chytridiomycosis caused by Bd has caused mass mortality events in Australia, Central America and Spain. However, little is known about the distribution and population prevalence...
Article
Full-text available
Clay models are realistic replicas of live animals that are frequently used in ecological and ethological field studies. These kind of models, usually made from plasticine, are malleable, easy to shape, colour and relative inexpensive. In addition, plasticine models retain marks on their surface allowing the identification of the predator and of th...
Article
Dietary studies suggest that amphibians are opportunistic predators. However, there is little information on the ability of individuals to change their feeding strategy in time because most studies do not evaluate prey availability and its effect on individual behaviour. To better understand how variation in prey availability may affect the feeding...
Article
Amphibians are declining worldwide and one of the major causes of such decline is habitat loss. Forestry practices have a primary role in causing habitat loss and fragmentation, detrimental to amphibians. We studied the ecological requirements of a fully terrestrial and threatened amphibian, the Golden Alpine Salamander Salamandra atra aurorae, whi...
Article
Full-text available
Sex ratio is an essential demographic parameter and distortions from a balanced sex ratio may have contrasting effects on the population dynamics. However, observation of distorted sex ratio using counts or captures may reflect an actual ecological trait of the studied population but may also be an artefact due to different capture probabilities of...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Bombina variegata is a good candidate to study the effects of alternative forestry practices, because it often depends on small and ephemeral reproductive sites that are more susceptible to desiccation and microhabitat alteration. Available data showed that populations breeding in forest ponds have a significantly better body condition than those i...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Clay models are frequently used in ecological studies to estimate potential predation rates on small and cryptic vertebrates (Bateman et al. 2016). These models are easy to shape and they retain predator marks, allowing the identification of the body part attacked and of the predator. In herpetological studies, prey models are used to evaluate colo...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Recent studies have shown that many amphibian populations that behave as generalist feeders are in fact composed by a number of heterogeneous individuals, both specialized and generalists. Here we review the literature about individual trophic specialization in Italian amphibians and also present some original data. To date, the trophic specializat...
Presentation
Full-text available
This is the presentation concerning the study of terrestrial salamander predation by means of clay replicas. The results from different experiments are discussed, and the pros and cons of the use of this material illustrated.
Article
Full-text available
Many small terrestrial vertebrates exhibit limited spatial movement and are considerably exposed to changes in local environmental variables. Among such vertebrates, amphibians at present experience a dramatic decline due to their limited resilience to environmental change. Since the local survival and abundance of amphibians is intrinsically relat...
Article
Ecological traits affect species’ responses to human impacts. Amphibians are declining worldwide and one of the major causes of such decline is habitat loss. Forestry practices have a primary role in determining habitat loss and fragmentation for amphibians. Thus, researchers should provide forest practitioners with essential information in order t...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Animal populations living in the forest floor or in the soil may increase their fitness when colonizing shallow subterranean habitats. In fact in these habitats, animals will take advantage from more buffered environmental conditions, new ecological opportunities and lower levels of predation. However, while the first two conditions are well docume...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Animal populations living in the forest floor or in the soil may increase their fitness when colonizing shallow subterranean habitats. In fact in these habitats, animals will take advantage from more buffered environmental conditions, new ecological opportunities and lower levels of predation. However, while the first two conditions are well docume...
Article
Recent studies suggest that many organisms actively colonize the subterranean environment to avoid climatic stress, exploit new ecological opportunities and reduce competition and predation. Terrestrial salamanders are known to colonize the more stable subterranean habitats mainly to escape external climatic extremes, while the role of predation av...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we focus on the trophic strategy and intra-population diet variation of the larvae of the fire salamander, Salamandra salamandra gigliolii (Eiselt & Lanza, 1956), living in a fish-free freshwater habitat, in which they rank as top predators (Oberrisser & Waringer 2011). Even if data of the trophic ecology of S. salamandra larvae are a...
Chapter
Full-text available
Bombina variegata is a good candidate to study the effects of alternative forestry practices, because it often depends on small and ephemeral reproductive sites that are more susceptible to desiccation and microhabitat alteration. Available data showed that populations breeding in forest ponds have a significantly better body condition than those i...
Data
Full-text available
Supplementary Materialis: Romnao et al.2016. Olim palus, where once upon a time the marsh: distribution, demography, ecology and threats of amphibians in the Circeo National Park (Central Italy)
Article
Full-text available
The Circeo National Park lies in a territory that was deeply shaped by human activity, and represents one of the few remaining patches of plain wetland habitat in Central Italy. In this study distribution and few demographic information of the amphibians in the Park were provided. Seven species and 25 bibliographic and 84 original breeding sites we...
Article
Among vertebrates the concept of ‘‘habitat tree” in temperate forests, involving tree size and microhabitat occurrence, has been investigated mainly for birds and mammals. However, trees are also used by many amphibian species or sometimes by whole amphibian families that have evolved adaptations for living on trees. While there is a self-evident l...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding habitat selection by animal populations is one of the most relevant topics in ecology. In this study, we analyzed fine-scale habitat selection in a population of the salamander Speleomantes strinatii living in a Mediterranean forest environment. We used repeated surveys to estimate salamander abundance on 40 plots (12 m 2) by applying...
Article
Full-text available
Herpetofauna includes both amphibians and reptiles. Despite the fact that these two vertebrate groups are often considered together in the study of herpetology, they are quite different. They come from independent lineages since 300 million years ago (Zug et al., 2001) and have quite different reproductive systems, behav-ioural traits and ecologica...