Paolo Ciucci

Paolo Ciucci
Sapienza University of Rome | la sapienza · Department of Biology and Biotechnology "Charles Darwin"

M.S., Ph.D.

About

139
Publications
97,059
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Introduction
Paolo Ciucci currently works at the Department of Biology and Biotechnology "Charles Darwin" , Sapienza University of Rome, Italy. Main research interests comprise wildlife ecology and management, with a focus on ecology and conservation of large carnivores. Fields of application range from population assessment and monitoring to space-use patterns and movement ecology, feeding ecology, habitat selection and suitability, landscape connectivity, conservation planning and conflict mitigation. Methods and techiques employed comprise VHF- and GPS-telemetry, noninvasive genetics, camera-trapping, scat-analysis, Resource Selection Functions, population and habitat modelling.
Additional affiliations
June 1999 - present
Sapienza University of Rome
Position
  • Senior Researcher
Education
October 1991 - October 1994
Sapienza University of Rome
Field of study
  • Animal Ecology
May 1988 - July 1990
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Field of study
  • Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
October 1981 - July 1987
Sapienza University of Rome
Field of study
  • Biology

Publications

Publications (139)
Article
Skin biopsies from 20 Apennine brown bears (Ursus arctos marsicanus) 17 of which displaying skin lesions, were investigated by histopathology. Different degrees of dermatitis characterized by folliculitis and furunculosis accompanied by epidermal hyperplasia and epidermal and follicular hyperkeratosis were detected. In the most severe lesions, prob...
Preprint
The Sicilian wolf represented the only population of wolves living on a Mediterranean island until the first half of the twentieth century (1930s-1960s) 1–7 . Previous studies hypothesised that they remained isolated from mainland wolves from the end of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) 8,9 , until human persecutions led them to extinction 1–7 . There...
Article
Full-text available
As wolves in Europe are expanding in range, their impact on economic activities through predation on livestock is increasing. In this context, the effectiveness of damage compensation programs is being debated and requires adequate assessment. With this aim, we performed a survey of wolf depredation on livestock in Italy during the years 2010 − 201...
Poster
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Poster on wolf feeding trials conducted at Järvzoo for the validation of DNA-based method developed to detect prey from scats.
Article
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Sharing space with large carnivores on a human-dominated continent like Europe results in multiple conflictful interactions with human interests, of which depredation on livestock is the most widespread. We conducted an analysis of the impact by all four European large carnivores on sheep farming in 10 European countries, during the period 2010-201...
Article
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Background The low cost and rapidity of microsatellite analysis have led to the development of several markers for many species. Because in non-invasive genetics it is recommended to genotype individuals using few loci, generally a subset of markers is selected. The choice of different marker panels by different research groups studying the same po...
Article
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Large carnivore feeding ecology plays a crucial role for management and conservation for predators and their prey. One of the keys to this kind of research is to identify the species composition in the predator diet, for example, prey determination from scat content. DNA-based methods applied to detect prey in predators’ scats are viable alternativ...
Article
Full-text available
Any forest management potentially affects the availability and quality of resources for forest-dwelling wildlife populations, including endangered species. One such species is the Apennine brown bear, a small and unique population living in the central Apennines of Italy. The conservation of this relict bear population is hampered by the lack of kn...
Article
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• Parasites are integral to ecosystem functioning yet often overlooked. Improved understanding of host–parasite associations is important, particularly for wide-ranging species for which host range shifts and climate change could alter host–parasite interactions and their effects on ecosystem function. • Among the most widely distributed mammals wi...
Article
Facilitating coexistence between people and large carnivores is critical for large carnivore conservation in human-dominated landscapes, when their presence impacts negatively on human interests. Such situations will often require novel ways of mediating between different values, worldviews and opinions about how carnivores should be managed. We re...
Article
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Apennine brown bears (Ursus arctos marsicanus) survive in an isolated and critically endangered population, and their food habits have been studied using traditional scat analysis. To complement current dietary knowledge, we applied Stable Isotope Analysis (SIA) to non-invasively collected bear hairs that had been individually recognized through mu...
Article
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Human-carnivore conflicts are a major conservation issue. As bears are expanding their range in Europe’s human-modified landscapes, it is increasingly important to understand, prevent, and address human-bear conflicts and evaluate mitigation strategies in areas of historical coexistence. Based on verified claims, we assessed costs, patterns, and dr...
Article
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We explored fluctuating asymmetry (FA) and morphological integration (MI) in the skull of the small, highly inbred and divergent Apennine bear ( Ursus arctos marsicanus ), to explore its uniqueness and investigate any potential effects of inbreeding depression. We used 3D geometric morphometrics contrasting Apennine bears with other two large outbr...
Article
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A key goal of conservation is to protect biodiversity by supporting the long-term persistence of viable, natural populations of wild species. Conservation practice has long been guided by genetic, ecological and demographic indicators of risk. Emerging evidence of animal culture across diverse taxa and its role as a driver of evolutionary diversifi...
Article
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Social conflicts around large carnivores are increasing in Europe, often associated to the species expansion into human-modified and agricultural landscapes. Large carnivores can be seen as an added value by some but as a source of difficulties by others, depending on different values, attitudes, livelihoods, and everyday activities. Therefore, the...
Article
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Aim The recent recovery of large carnivores in Europe has been explained as resulting from a decrease in human persecution driven by widespread rural land abandonment, paralleled by forest cover increase and the consequent increase in availability of shelter and prey. We investigated whether land cover and human population density changes are relat...
Article
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Introgressive hybridization between domestic dogs and wolves (Canis lupus) represents an em-blematic case of anthropogenic hybridization and is increasingly threatening the genomic integrity of wolf populations expanding into human-modified landscapes. But studies formally estimating prevalence and accounting for imperfect detectability and uncerta...
Article
Studying how animals interact with their environment is fundamental to informing conservation and management efforts, especially when examining large, wide-ranging carnivores in human-dominated landscapes. We hypothesized that the home ranges of bears are configured to exploit supplemental food (corn) and avoid people. In 2004–2016, we tracked 10 b...
Article
Seasonal migrations (i.e. seasonal round‐trips between disjunct areas) have been rarely documented for large carnivores. The Dinaric‐Pindos brown bear (Ursus arctos) population is the third largest in Europe, but little information is currently available on individual movement patterns. We studied movement patterns by 12 GPS‐collared adult and suba...
Article
Full-text available
The conservation of the Apennine brown bear requires a significant expansion of the species' range beyond the current limits. According to the studies carried out to date on the habitat suitability and connectivity at the landscape scale, forests play a critical role for the Apennine brown bear as they represent an elective component of the habitat...
Chapter
This chapter comprises the following sections: names, taxonomy, subspecies and distribution, descriptive notes, habitat, movements and home range, activity patterns, feeding ecology, reproduction and growth, behavior, parasites and diseases, status in the wild, and status in captivity.
Chapter
Brown bears Ursus arctos were historically persecuted and almost eradicated from southern Europe in the twentieth century as a result of hunting and direct persecution. The effects of human-induced mortality were exacerbated by other threats, such as habitat loss and fragmentation, due to the expansion of human populations. As a result, nowadays th...
Article
Full-text available
The occurrence of wolf populations in human-dominated landscapes is challenging worldwide because of conflicts with human activities. Modeling is an important tool to project wolf dynamics and expansion, and help in decision making concerning management and conservation. However, some individual behaviors and pack dynamics of the wolf life cycle ar...
Article
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Despite recent recovery of large carnivores throughout Europe such as the brown bear (Ursus arctos) and the gray wolf (Canis lupus), some of their populations are still threatened and their viability depends on human tolerance to share mixed landscapes. We investigated the drivers of landholders' tolerance in Abruzzo (Italy), a region with a long h...
Article
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Social conflicts over large carnivores are becoming more frequent following the general recovery of large carnivores in human shaped landscapes in Europe. To manage conflicts over large carnivores a detailed knowledge is necessary on the social, economic, cultural but also interpersonal dimensions of the conflicts. This can be achieved through a pa...
Article
Hybridization affects the evolution and conservation status of species and populations. Because the dynamics of hybridization is driven by reproduction and survival of parental and admixed individuals, demographic modelling is a valuable tool to assess the effects of hybridization on population viability, e.g., under different management scenarios....
Preprint
Full-text available
The occurrence of wolf populations in human-dominated landscapes is challenging worldwide because of conflicts with human activities. Modeling is an important tool to predict wolf dynamics and expansion, and help in decision making concerning management and conservation. However, some individual behaviors and pack dynamics of the wolf life cycle ar...
Article
Full-text available
Anthropogenic and biotic disturbances have the potential to interact, generating cumulative impacts on animal movement or, alternatively, counterbalancing or masking each other. Despite their importance, those interactions have not been investigated thoroughly. Our study aimed to fill this knowledge gap by assessing the combined effects of a human...
Article
Full-text available
In ecologically pristine ecosystems, top-down effects of apex predators play a fundamental role in shaping trophic cascades and structuring ecosystems, but in human-modified landscapes anthropogenic effects may markedly alter the ecological role of predators. In particular, human-provisioned food subsidies represent a serious concern for the conser...
Article
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Forest management guidelines to promote the conservation of Apennine brown bear in Italy Forests provide a wide range of important ecosystem services and, among these benefits, biodiversity and wildlife habitat. Forest management (including no active control) deeply affects wildlife management, since it can alter habitat structure and productivity,...
Article
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Little is known about the impact of infectious diseases on large carnivores. We investigated factors structuring the helminth and protozoan infections of wolves (Canis lupus) by using coprological analyses. Faecal samples (n = 342) were analysed from 11 wolf packs belonging to three different geographical and ecological settings in Italy (Abruzzo,...
Article
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Representing a form of anthropogenic hybridization, wolf–dog interbreeding may potentially compromise the ecological and evolutionary traits of local wolf populations and corrode social tolerance towards wolves. However, estimates of the extent of wolf–dog hybridization in wolf populations are scarce, especially at a multi-pack scale and in human-d...
Article
Species ranges are changing in response to human-related disturbances and often management and conservation decisions must be based on incomplete information. In this context, species distribution models (SDMs) represent the most widely used tool, but they often lack any reference to demographic performance of the population under study, spatial st...
Article
Understanding large carnivores’ behavioural adaptations to habitat modifications is critical for their persistence in human‐modified environments. Based on 10 Global Positioning System‐collared wolves in a protected area of central Italy, we investigated wolf responses to anthropogenic features such as roads and settlements by using Step and Resour...
Article
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The increasing trend of large carnivore attacks on humans not only raises human safety concerns but may also undermine large carnivore conservation efforts. Although rare, attacks by brown bears Ursus arctos are also on the rise and, although several studies have addressed this issue at local scales, information is lacking on a worldwide scale. Her...
Article
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Anthropogenic hybridization is widely perceived as a threat to the conservation of biodiversity. Nevertheless, to date, relevant policy and management interventions are unresolved and highly convoluted. While this is due to the inherent complexity of the issue, we hereby hypothesize that a lack of agreement concerning management goals and approache...
Article
Full-text available
Human‐carnivore coexistence is a multi‐faceted issue that requires an understanding of the diverse attitudes and perspectives of the communities living with large carnivores. To inform initiatives that encourage behaviors in line with conservation goals, we focused on assessing the two components of attitudes (i.e., feelings and beliefs), as well a...
Article
Extraterritorial forays in wolves (Canis lupus) have rarely been documented, especially in human-modified landscapes of southern and central Europe. Integrating information on extraterritorial forays is currently enhanced by Global Positioning System (GPS) telemetry and contributes to our knowledge of the spatial dynamics of wolf populations. We he...
Article
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Understanding the rich social lives of animals benefits international conservation efforts
Article
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1. Estimating the relative abundance (prevalence) of different population segments is a key step in addressing fundamental research questions in ecology, evolution and conservation. The raw percentage of individuals in the sample (naive prevalence) is generally used for this purpose, but it is likely to be subject to two main sources of bias. First...
Poster
Full-text available
Habitat loss and fragmentation can severely hamper species ability to undertake long-distance movements (e.g. dispersal, migration), impeding both gene ow and access to critical habitat. In some European brown bear populations, the need for increasing pre-wintering food intake can lead to individual migration-like movement patterns, with animals co...
Article
Large carnivores are amongst the most susceptible species to human activities, and human-modified environments pose a threat to carnivore conservation. Wolves (Canis lupus Linnaeus, 1758) in the central Apennines, Italy, have coexisted with humans since historic times and represent a good case study to assess their spatiotemporal response to anthro...
Article
Fine-scale knowledge of how anthropogenic effects may alter habitat selection by wolves (Canis lupus) is important to inform conservation management, especially where wolf populations are expanding into more populated areas or where human activity and development are increasingly encroaching on formerly pristine environments. From 1999 to 2003, we...
Article
Full-text available
Although understanding of food habits of wolves in human-modified landscapes is critical to inform conservation and conflict management, no such studies have ever been conducted in the southern Apennines, Italy, where wolves long coexisted with humans. By means of scat analysis (n = 1743) and log-linear modelling, we investigated diet composition i...
Article
Full-text available
Apennine brown bears are a very small, isolated population of central Italy, consisting of about 50 individuals and under a severe risk of extinction. We performed a population viability analysis (PVA) for this population, contrasting a deterministic model and an individual-based stochastic model, using a set of demographic parameters estimated for...
Article
Full-text available
The value of ants to bears is a topic of substantial relevance for the small and highly endangered population of Apennine brown bears (Ursus arctos marsicanus) in central Italy. Following a previous food-habit study (2006–2009) based on scat analysis, we used the same data set to further investigate patterns of ant consumption by Apennine bears at...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The mitigation of the conflicts associated to livestock predation and agriculture damage is pivotal for the conservation of large carnivores in Europe. Aiming to identify the management strategies that more efficiently mitigate these conflicts, we made a critical review of the current policies to manage damage made by brown bears, lynx, wolves and...
Article
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About 100 km east of Rome, in the central Apennine Mountains, a critically endangered population of ∼50 brown bears live in complete isolation. Mating outside this population is prevented by several 100 km of bear-free territories. We exploited this natural experiment to better understand the gene and genomic consequences of surviving at extremely...
Article
Brown bears (Ursus arctos marsicanus) in the Apennines, central Italy, survive in a precarious conservation status but the reproductive performance of the population has never been formally assessed. Each year, from 2006 to 2014, we conducted surveys of females with cubs (FWC) to estimate the minimum number of female bears that reproduced and annua...
Article
Although knowledge of reproductive parameters is critical to project the probability of persistence of small and endangered populations, no such data are available for the relict Apennine brown bear (Ursus arctos marsicanus) population (central Italy). From 2005 through 2014, we compiled re-sight data on marked adult female bears (3 ≤ n ≤ 10/yr, fo...
Article
Full-text available
For most rare and elusive species, estimating age-specific survival is a challenging task, although it is an important requirement to understand the drivers of population dynamics, and to inform conservation actions. Apennine brown bears Ursus arctos marsicanus are a small, isolated population under a severe risk of extinction, for which the main d...
Article
The family Ursidae is currently one of the taxonomic groups with the lowest number of species among Carnivora. Extant bear species exhibit broad ecological adaptations both at inter- and intraspecific level, and taxonomic issues within this family remain unresolved (i.e., the number of recognizable subspecies). Here, we investigate a sample of bear...
Article
Modelling landscape connectivity represents one of the central challenges for conservation of natural resources, especially in human dominated landscapes. Many different methods have been developed to this effect, but their assumptions and limitations have been largely ignored. Using high resolution GPS tracking data from brown bears (Ursus arctos)...
Article
Full-text available
1. Population density (ind/ha) of long-term (>15 years) series of CMR populations, using distinct demographic models designed for both open and closed populations, were analysed for two sympatric species of rodents (Myodes glareolus and Apodemus flavicollis) from a mountain area in central Italy, in order to test the relative performance of various...