Leonardo Vignoli

Leonardo Vignoli
Università Degli Studi Roma Tre | UNIROMA3 · Department of Science

PhD

About

130
Publications
42,448
Reads
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Introduction
Leonardo Vignoli currently works at the Department of Science, Università Degli Studi Roma Tre. Leonardo does research in Ecology, Zoology and Animal Communications. I have several ongoing projects on animal ecology. Here some examples: Impact of Bullfrogs on native Amphibians and Reptiles in Central Italy; Feeding strategy in the invasive anuran American bullfrog; Long term (>20 years) monitoring and demgraphy of Salamandrina perspicillata and Rana italica; Ecology, genetics and conservation through captive breeding of the Italian endemic amphibians Euproctus platycephalus and Bombina pachypus; Assemblage structure of Odonata in natural and artificial habitats Nestedness and co-occurrence pattern in Odonata at global and local scales; Ecotoxicology of lizards in rural habitats
Additional affiliations
December 2010 - December 2015
Università Degli Studi Roma Tre
Position
  • Researcher
January 2004 - January 2010
Università Degli Studi Roma Tre
Position
  • Research Assistant
May 2000 - September 2003
Università Degli Studi Roma Tre
Position
  • PhD Student
Education
September 1993 - May 1999
Università Degli Studi Roma Tre
Field of study
  • Animal Ecology

Publications

Publications (130)
Article
Full-text available
The effects of the moon on organisms have been documented in several animal groups. However, few field studies have considered the real amount of light intensity produced by the interaction of the moon and cloudiness as determinant of nocturnal activity patterns. Many nocturnal animals may present an endogenous cycle with lunar periodicity, but oth...
Article
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In invasion ecology, niche width has been recognized as a crucial factor for the outcome of an invasion. A common characteristic of successful invaders seems to be a broad niche width, and their impact on native communities may increase with increasing niche size. Overall, successful invader predators are predicted to shift their niche width by bro...
Article
The evolutionary response to interspecific competition is the partitioning of the resources used by the competing species. At the community level, the ultimate outcome of resource partitioning determines how communities evolve in terms of their species composition, explaining the distribution and abundance of organisms within natural assemblages. D...
Article
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In Amphibians, both positive and negative correlations between activity and full moon phase have been observed. In this study, we present data for two anuran species (Hyla intermedia and Rana dalmatina) studied in a hilly Mediterranean area of central Italy. We analysed, in a two-year survey, the relationships be-tween the number of egg clutches la...
Article
Full-text available
Anuran amphibians have traditionally been considered suitable model organisms for community ecology studies. In this paper, we review and quantitatively re-analyze the original studies published on dietary relationships among anuran communities worldwide. We re-analyzed 33 independent communities from all continents, including data on prey numbers...
Article
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Habitat anthropization is a major driver of global biodiversity decline. Although most species are negatively affected, some benefit from anthropogenic habitat modifications by showing intriguing life-history responses. For instance, increased recruitment through higher allocation to reproduction or improved performance during early-life stages cou...
Article
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Sexual dichromatism in animals is usually associated with mating displays and is linked to strong sexual selection. Among amphibians, it has mostly been reported in anurans and only in a few caudates. Here, we investigated sexual dichromatism in the only two extant species of the genus Salamandrina, testing for its possible role in intraspecific co...
Article
Anurans are generalist opportunistic consumers, but many species show some degree of diet specialization. Within populations, individuals may specialize on specific dietary resources (individual specialization). Indeed, generalist populations may be composed of individuals using the whole range of available resources or by diverse individuals explo...
Article
Among intensive agricultural practices, pesticides, mowing, and heavy agricultural machineries have become an important tool to maximize harvesting and secure animal husbandry. However, they are also cause of agricultural ecosystem decline, often leading to degradation of key micro-habitat features for many species, higher predation risk and lower...
Article
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Deserts have been predicted to be one of the most responsive ecosystems to global climate change. In this study, we examine the spatial and demographic response of a keystone endemic plant of the Namib Desert ( Welwitschia mirabilis ), for which displacement and reduction of suitable climate has been foreseen under future conditions. The main aim i...
Chapter
Artificial habitats are useful study systems for testing ecological processes due to natural seriality (i.e., they shared a same physical structure) and the relatively low number of environmental parameters compared to natural habitats. In the Presidential Estate of Castelporziano, there are several drinking troughs dispersed in a system of natural...
Article
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The release of contaminants as herbicides, fungicides and insecticides into the environment has been listed as one of the six major contributors to the global decline of reptiles. Although reptiles may face severe risk from contaminants due to their ecology and physiology, they are currently less studied than other vertebrate groups. In the present...
Article
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The Aeolian wall lizard Podarcis raffonei is an island endemic that survives only on three tiny islets, and on the Capo Grosso peninsula of the Vulcano island, thus is among the European vertebrates with the smallest range and one of the most threatened by extinction. This species is declining due to competition and hybridization with the non-nativ...
Article
In oviparous species, pesticides may affect embryo survival via maternal transfer or contaminant absorption from the soil, thus representing an important cause of population decline. Maternal transfer is a source of contamination during vitellogenesis and oviductal egg retention. Currently, there is still limited evidence of the potential risk of e...
Article
• The metacommunity concept, defined as a set of local communities connected by species dispersal, provides deep understanding of large-scale ecological processes. The elements of the metacommunity structure (EMS) framework use occurrence data to differentiate among different patterns (i.e., checkerboard, nestedness, species turnover). • Metacommun...
Article
One of the most recognizable icons of the Namib Desert is the endemic gymnosperm Welwitschia mirabilis. Recent studies indicated that climate change may seriously affect populations in the northern Namibia subrange (Kunene region), but their extinction risk has not yet been assessed. In this study, we apply IUCN criteria to define the extinction ri...
Article
Full-text available
Lizard thermoregulation is costly and is largely behavioural. Podarcis raffonei, endemic of few islets of the Aeolian archipelago (southern Italy), is one of the most threatened lizards in Europe, its survival being under threat also due to the presence of the congeneric P. siculus, a successful invader characterised by behavioural plasticity and e...
Article
The extensive use of pesticides in agricultural environments produces drastic effects on wildlife, hence the need for less invasive indicators of environmental stress to monitoring the impact of agriculture treatments on biological systems. Fluctuating asymmetry (FA), as measure of developmental instability, has recently been proposed as reliable b...
Article
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1. Invaders affect native species across multiple trophic levels, influencing the structure and stability of freshwater communities. Based on the 'trophic position hypothesis', invaders at the top of the food web are more harmful to native species via direct and indirect effects than trophically analogous native predators are. 2. However, introduc...
Article
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Natural aquatic sites are disappearing worldwide, especially in the Mediterranean region where amphibians are frequently forced to move for reproduction to artificial sites designed for irrigation and cattle watering (i.e., wells, tanks and drinking troughs). In artificial aquatic sites, where resources (space and food) are usually limited, trophic...
Article
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Latitude is known to deeply affect life with effects generalizable into ecological rules; the increasing species diversity toward tropics is the most paradigmatic. Several hypotheses tested patterns of biotic interactions’ intensity along latitude. Negative interactions (i.e. competition and predation) are expected to be among the processes that pr...
Article
Full-text available
Nestedness patterns including both artificial and natural habitat may represent evidence of such habitats’ importance in community assembly and conservation of animals inhabiting those sites. Odonata often colonize drinking troughs (artificial water reservoirs) and thus they are good study models as umbrella species. We investigated if a network of...
Article
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Intraspecific trait variation in generalist animals is widespread in nature, yet its effects on community ecology are not well understood. Newts are considered opportunistic feeders that may co-occur in different syntopic conditions and represent an excellent model for studying the role of individual feeding specialization in shaping the population...
Preprint
Full-text available
One of the most recognisable icon of the Namib Desert is the endemic gymnosperm Welwitschia mirabilis . Recent studies indicated that climate change may seriously affect populations in the northern Namibia subrange (Kunene region) but their extinction risk has not yet been assessed. In this study, we apply IUCN criteria to define the extinction ris...
Article
Full-text available
Grass snakes are widely distributed across the Western Palearctic. Recent phylogeo-graphic studies provided evidence that three distinct parapatric species exist. Two of these occur in Italy, Natrix helvetica and N. natrix, and a contact zone between both taxa has been suggested for northeastern Italy. Moreover, previous investigations revealed for...
Article
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Reports of global declines in animal populations are now numerous and also include snakes, a group of animals now widely regarded as bio-indicators. A prerequisite for any conservation management plan to protect or restore snake population requires a data base that provides insight into population composition and changes. However snakes are well kn...
Article
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1. The spatial and trophic ecology of Afrotropical gecko populations are poorly known. Here, we report ecological observations on Brook’s House Gecko (Hemidactylus angulatus), a widespread gekkonid species, in the Rivers State University of Science and Technology campus, Port Harcourt, Nigeria. 2. A total of 488 gecko individuals were recorded dur...
Article
We tested the ability in the ruin lizard (Podarcis siculus) to discriminate between odour of a predator (the whip snake Hierophis viridiflavus) and those from harmless sources. We analysed two lizard populations: one (PP) predated by snakes and another (PNP) where no snakes occur. We tested the rate of tongue-flick directed to cotton-tips impregnat...
Preprint
Full-text available
Climate change represents an important threat to global biodiversity and African ecosystems are particularly vulnerable. Recent studies predicted substantial variations of climatic suitability for Welwitschia mirabilis under future conditions. Latitudinal/altitudinal range shifts are well-known responses to climate change but not coherent patterns...
Article
Predation affects population dynamics via both direct mortality and behavioural responses to the threat of death. Environmental factors are known to influence the activity of both predator and prey in amphibians by interacting with their physiological constraints. For instance, lunar cues (moonlight and moon cycle) influence amphibian predation ris...
Article
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Global climate change has been causing growing concern among conservationists for its strong implications on biodiversity alteration and loss at different levels of organization. Dragonflies and damselflies (order Odonata) occur in habitats threatened by global warming, thus they represent an ideal model organism to study the correlation patterns o...
Poster
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Mesocestoides spp. are cyclophyllidean tapeworms (Cestoda, Mesocestoididae) with an indirect life cycle probably requiring two intermediate hosts and a definitive one. Although their complete life cycle is not still clear, the first intermediate host is generally thought to be an arthropod, the second ones are commonly reptiles, amphibians, birds a...
Article
The presence of alien species can embody a form of disturbance for natural communities and the concomitant presence of alien species at different levels within the trophic chain may compromise ecosystem functionality. We studied the ecology of two species of snake (Natrix tessellata and N. natrix) in a system of five ponds with a high number of ali...
Article
Full-text available
Several factors act on community structure, so determining species composition and abundance patterns. Core processes operating at local scales, such as species-environment matching and species interactions, shape observed assemblages. Artificial habitats (simplified structure) are useful systems for assessing the main factors affecting community c...
Article
Full-text available
Cantharidin (CA), a toxic terpene produced by blister beetles (Coleoptera: Meloidae), attracts the interest of many researchers for its renowned medical properties. The CA content in blister beetles has been mainly quantified in some Oriental species, due to their use in traditional Chinese medicine, or in few other species of toxicological importa...
Article
• Amphibians are the vertebrate group experiencing the steepest global population decline and species loss. Habitat alteration and loss caused by the intensification of agriculture is among the main causes; however, in the past, amphibians have been favoured by traditional agriculture and husbandry as more terrestrial and aquatic habitats became av...
Poster
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Reptiles are non-target organisms of pesticides applications. Nevertheless little is known about pesticides effects on this taxa and in particular on lizards. The aim of this study was to assess how agrochemicals are affecting specimens of Podarcis siculus sampled in hazelnuts orchards taking into consideration organic and traditional farming metho...
Poster
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Alternative tissues of lizards in which to perform analysis of some biomarkers related to neurotoxicity, oxidative stress and DNA damage.
Article
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Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and related technologies have revolutionized the field of conservation and population genetics, providing novel tools and the capacity to discover thousands of new Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) for the analysis of population parameters. However, gathering NGS data for organisms with very large genomes, such...
Article
Temperature profoundly influences the biology of ectotherm organisms, for example reptiles, which mostly regulate their body temperature behaviorally by shuttling between heat sources and sinks. The thermal quality of the environment directly affects the amount of time that a reptile takes to keep the body temperature within the optimal range. The...
Article
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Published by the British Herpetological Society Hibernation is a key aspect of the physiological ecology of temperate zone reptiles and where suitable dens are present, communal hibernation and long-term den fidelity may be expected. We studied long-term communal occupancy of hibernation dens in Italy and France by aspic vipers, Vipera aspis. Long-...
Article
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We studied long-term communal occupancy of hibernation dens in Italy and France by aspic vipers, Vipera aspis. In Italy, regression analysis of annual changes in snake numbers at dens, against a null hypothesis of snake number stability at dens, indicated that den numbers were stable from 1987 - 2000. However, after this period to 2017 there was a...
Article
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Abstract - Patterns of movement are an important component in animal ecology. In temperate zone reptiles this includes movement soon after emergence from hibernation, often a crucial period for courtship and mating. Due to the effects of climate or habitat, intra-specific differences in movement in different areas might be expected. We examined thi...
Article
• Biological invasion studies have focused mostly on the competition and predation impact of invaders on native species; however, introduced species frequently interact with each other and, contrary to the ‘invasional meltdown theory’, such interactions may have non‐interactive effects on native fauna. • Here, the effects of the interaction between...
Article
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Mediterranean streams undergo seasonal reductions in water availability that may affect amphibian demography due to habitat loss and the concentration of individuals in the shrinking aquatic habitats. However, there are few empirical examples of how increased population density experienced by larval stages produces long-term effects on growth and f...
Poster
Full-text available
DISCUSSION ➢ We hypothesized that interspecific interactions are the major forces driving to the observed segregation pattern. ➢ Focusing on larval life stage, the presence of structured assemblages (B) can be expected due to the very simplified habitat of the drinking troughs (limited water volume, simple vegetation structure and diversity) that f...
Article
Full-text available
Habitat loss and fragmentation are threatening amphibians by increasing population isolation. However, artificial waterbodies created for livestock may contrast this phenomenon by providing surrogate habitats for amphibians. Here, we performed a genetic study on an amphibian species, Lissotriton vulgaris meridionalis, in a rural area in central Ita...
Article
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We reported a study on breeding birds occurring inside an 80 m-deep karst sinkhole, with the characterization of the assemblages recorded along its semi-vertical slopes from the upper edge until the bottom. The internal sides of the sinkhole have been vertically subdivided in four belts about 20 m high. The highest belt (at the upper edge of the ce...
Article
Mono-and bispecific genera are of special concern as they represent unique phylogenetic/evolutionary trajectories within larger clades. In addition, as phylogenetically older taxa are supposed to be exposed to higher rarity and extinction risk, mono- and bispecific genera may be intrinsically more prone to extinction risks than multispecies genera,...
Article
Full-text available
In vertebrates, one main feature of stress response is the release of glucocorticoids (corticosterone in reptiles), steroid hormones whose synthesis is regulated by the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis (HPA). In the Galápagos Islands, populations of land iguanas are differentially impacted by a tick-transmitted apicomplexan hemoparasite of genus...
Article
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Visual counts gathered within citizen science programs are increasingly used to determine distribution and abundance of species of conservation concern. However, to obtain reliable patterns from counts, imperfect detection should always be considered, with particular reference to rare and elusive species. By analysing data coming from a citizen sci...
Article
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Circeo National Park (CNP) is one of the oldest protected areas in Italy. The knowledge on the herpetofauna in CNP is relatively scarce, with the latest records dating back to the 1970s. This gap of knowledge needs to be addressed, considering that this area is one of the last pristine fragments of coastal Mediterranean forest in the Italian Penins...
Article
The patterns of the occurrence and distribution of alien freshwater turtle species in an urban pond archipelago (Rome, Italy) were analysed, with the aim of exploring the role of a set of factors (type of ponds, landscape context, size area, distance from the nearest road) with a generalized linear model approach. A total of 311 ponds subdivided in...