Riccardo Alba

Riccardo Alba
Università degli Studi di Torino | UNITO · Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e Biologia dei Sistemi

Master of Science

About

13
Publications
2,221
Reads
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23
Citations
Introduction
I'm a PhD Student at the University of Turin. I'm interested in the interactions between alpine biodiversity, snow and climate change. In particular, I focus on snow cover, snow melt and avalanches shaping bird communities in Alpine ecosystems. I'm also a passionate birder and wildlife photographer who loves to spend time in the mountains.
Additional affiliations
June 2020 - September 2020
Università degli Studi di Torino
Position
  • Scholarship
Education
October 2018 - April 2020
Università degli Studi di Torino
Field of study
  • Environmental Biology (Animal Ecology and Conservation)
October 2013 - December 2016
Università degli Studi di Torino
Field of study
  • Natural Sciences

Publications

Publications (13)
Article
Climate change is leading to the advancement of spring conditions, resulting in an earlier snowmelt and green‐up, with highest rates of change in highly seasonal environments, including alpine habitats. Migratory birds breeding at high elevations need to time their arrival and lay dates accurately with this advancement, but also with the annually v...
Article
In mountains, habitat mosaics, such as those found at the upper limit of coniferous forests in temperate regions, host relatively high avian diversity. In European mountains in particular, open habitat bird species are threatened by a decrease in agro-pastoral activities and by global warming. Snow avalanches act as a natural agent of disturbance t...
Article
Full-text available
Since climate change impacts are already occurring, urgent adaptive actions are necessary to avoid the worst damages. Regional authorities play an important role in adaptation, but they have few binding guidelines to carry out strategies and plans. Sectoral impacts and adaptive measures strongly differ between regions; therefore, specific results f...
Article
Full-text available
Most people lack direct experience with wildlife and form their risk perception primarily on information provided by the media. The way the media frames news may substantially shape public risk perception, promoting or discouraging public tolerance towards wildlife. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, bats were suggested as the most plausible re...
Article
Full-text available
Mountain ecosystems have special significance for biodiversity and are vulnerable to climate and other environmental changes. However, few assessments of drivers of change have been conducted in these areas in comparison to other more accessible biomes. In this study, we developed an objective and broad definition of a mountain bird, and systematic...
Article
Mountains support high biodiversity, often including endemic and vulnerable species, but they are also particularly sensitive to climate change. Whilst studies on mountain biodiversity at the species level are common, studies that consider whole assemblages are scarce. We assessed how an alpine bird assemblage varied in terms of ecological habitat...
Article
Full-text available
Timing reproduction to coincide with optimal environmental conditions is key for many organisms living in seasonal habitats. Advance in the onset of spring is a particular challenge to migratory birds that must time their arrival without knowing the conditions on the breeding grounds. This is amplified at high elevations where resource availability...
Article
Full-text available
Agricultural intensification and mechanization are major threats to farmland birds in Europe. The Corncrake Crex crex was a common and widespread species in rural landscapes in Italy, but its numbers strongly declined in most of its former range in the last half of the 20th century. Although it is a well-studied species in the Eastern Italian Alps,...
Preprint
Full-text available
A steady advance in the onset of spring is one of the most prominent footprints of climate warming and requires organisms, including migratory birds, to adapt their annual routines. As lower trophic levels typically adapt faster than higher trophic levels, observations of reduced fitness due to trophic mismatches are becoming more frequent, especia...
Thesis
Relatively little is known about the habitat requirements of bird species breeding in alpine meadows. Many of these birds are considered alpine specialists and could possibly suffer from climate change and changes in agro-pastoral activities. In order to know how these communities may be affected by future environmental changes, it is fundamental t...
Poster
Full-text available
La biodiversità delle praterie alpine d’alta quota è minacciata dal cambiamento climatico, il quale provoca un avanzamento verso l’alto della treeline con un notevole impatto negativo sulle specie che si riproducono in questo ambiente. Tali cambiamenti determinano trend popolazionali negativi per molte specie di uccelli migratori a lungo raggio, qu...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The relationship between the physical structure of the habitat and biodiversity has been investigated from different viewpoints in recent years. It has been documented that as the environment gets more complex in structure, the number of species in many animal groups increases. Focusing on birds, this correlation has been well described by MacArthu...
Article
In a mountain context, the forest-shrub ecotone is an area of high biodiversity. Relatively little is known about the habitat requirements of birds in this habitat, yet it is facing potential threats from changes in grazing practices and climate change. Moreover, it is not clear at which scale habitat associations should be assessed in Alpine birds...

Network

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
The project aimed to test whether the current pandemic has increased the public' alarm over bats. Bats are believed to be responsible for the current Coronavirus pandemic, although agreement between scientists has not yet been reached. An overabundance of media coverage associates bats with disease, which may have amplified the perception of risk on bat-linked diseases.
Project
This PhD project will focus on how snow cover, snowmelt and avalanches shape high-elevation bird communities, and how these factors will interact under a climate change scenario to affect bird populations in the future. Avalanches are among the most important disturbances that affect mountains and they enhance biodiversity by promoting habitat heterogeneity at large scale. However, few studies have researched the impact of avalanches on animal biodiversity. As climate change is likely to influence avalanche–forest interactions, a better understanding of these processes is needed.
Project
Our study will determine phenology and wintering locations of a Northern wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe population breeding in the Piedmontese Alps, and importantly will link this information to data on breeding demography and nesting habitat. The Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe is a long-distance migrant, and many populations of this species breed in open habitats at high elevations. Mountainous open habitats are threatened due to climate change (Chamberlain et al., 2013), and the consequent upward treeline shift is likely to impact negatively on the distribution and total area of suitable habitat for species living above the treeline in the Italian Alps (Ferrarini et al., 2017). Indeed, evidence already exists that Alpine breeding Wheatears have undergone a range shift towards higher elevations (Bani et al., 2019). Climate change will also affect the demography and phenology of upland and mountain bird species (Scridel et al., 2018). An additional potential threat to this species is its seasonal migration, as especially long-distance migrants tend to have negative population trends (Kirby et al., 2008). We collect and analyse data on demography (population size, nest productivity, breeding phenology and survival) through territory mapping, nest monitoring and resighting of colour-ringed individuals from a population breeding in the Piedmontese Alps. To describe details of migration, such as dates of departure, stop-over sites, location of the wintering range and arrival dates at high elevation breeding grounds, we attached light-level geolocators to breeding Wheatears for the first time in the Piemont region. In this way, we will obtain a complete picture of the species' life cycle and link this to habitat parameters. Field methods: geolocation, colour-ringing, chick ringing, nest monitoring, territory + habitat mapping, resighting of colour-ringed individuals (survival) Published research: Sander MM, Chamberlain D, Mermillon C, Alba R, Jähnig S, Rosselli D, Meier CM and Lisovski S (2021). Early Breeding Conditions Followed by Reduced Breeding Success Despite Timely Arrival in an Alpine Migratory Songbird. Front. Ecol. Evol. 9:676506. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2021.676506 Sander, M.M. and Chamberlain, D. (2020). Evidence for intraspecific phenotypic variation in songbirds along elevation gradients in central Europe. Ibis, 162: 1355-1362. https://doi.org/10.1111/ibi.12843