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Dr Piero Visconti

Dr Piero Visconti

Academic Visitor

Room 3.01 David Attenborough Building

Biography:

I am a Research Fellow in the Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research,  at UCL and at the Institute of Zoology of the Zoological Society of London, as well as Academic Visitor at the University of Cambridge Conservation Science Group.  After completing a PhD in Conservation Planning jointly between James Cook University and the Global Mammal Assessment programme (GMA) at Sapienza University of Rome in 2011, I did a one-year postdoctoral project on global scenarios for terrestrial mammal in Rome and then moved in 2012 to Microsoft Research Cambridge in the Computational Ecology group. My research there focussed on understanding species responses to land-use and climate change and projecting these responses under future global change scenarios. For this research I developed analytical methods that integrate statistical models of distribution and abundance of species that use presence data and species' life-history traits, with expert-based information on species habitat preferences. While at Microsoft, I also developed methods to plan conservation interventions under severe uncertainty, and methods to survey species’ cost-efficiently borrowing sampling techniques from computer science.

Before joining UCL-CBER, I have been at UNEP-WCMC in 2015-2016 establishing the ground-work for exploring whole-ecosystem responses to global change and operationalize the concept of a Biodiversity Planetary Boundary based on loss of ecosystem functioning.

Along-side my research and supervision, I engage in the science-policy interface through my role of coordinating lead author of the IPBES Regional Assessment of status and trends and future scenarios of biodiversity and ecosystem services for Europe and Central Asia.

Research Group

Conservation Science Group:
Academic Visitor

Research Interests

I am interested in understanding how ecosystems functions and structure change with habitat loss, and whether we can predict, for a given system, the existence of tipping points in loss of native vegetation beyond which the ecosystem cannot recover to their original state. To answer these question I am using the first marine and terrestrial General Ecosystem Model.

At UCL and ZSL, I continue working on Biodiversity Planetary Boundaries as well as investigating biodiversity scenarios under alternative socio-economic pathways. 

I am also interested in predictive models of population dynamics, in particular, using models to inform conservation management decisions.