Currently, my research can be structured along 5 main topics addressing complementary and multidisciplinary hypotheses:
- Trophic and migratory ecology of birds: I investigate which and where are the main food sources and how they are exploited by birds. This includes the study of foraging movements as well as the migrations between breeding and wintering areas. This information is critical for determining important bird areas as well as to contribute designing networks of protected areas.
- Spatial and temporal responses of seabirds to the marine environment: I investigate main factors, both physical and biological, explaining the distribution and abundance of seabirds in the marine environment at different spatial and temporal scales. Understanding these interactions allows us to predict their potential distribution and the current factors limiting it. This is a key knowledge to anticipate responses of seabirds to environmental changes, such as global warming.
- Interactions and coevolution among birds, ectoparasites and pathogens: I investigate the interactions among bird populations, their ectoparasites and some pathogens. Birds can act as dispersers and reservoirs of important bacteria and viruses, such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, Borrelia and West Nile virus. However, the role of birds in the circulation and re-emergence of these pathogens is still poorly known. Knowing the evolutionary and ecological relationships among birds, parasites and pathogens is crucial to understand their potential impact on human health.
- Contaminant dynamics in the marine environment: I investigate the dynamics of heavy metals and organic contaminants in seabird communities to understand the impact of human activities on the oceanic ecosystem. I am particularly interested in the ecological factors explaining contaminant levels, such as the trophic level and the differential use of food webs. Investigating the bioavailability and the bioaccumulation processes of contaminants is essential to understand their ecotoxic impact on the marine ecosystems.
- Molecular ecology and phylogeography of birds: I investigate the evolutionary relationships and the genetic structure of seabird populations as well as the historic and ecologic factors shaping them. I also use molecular tools to clarify taxonomic uncertainties and to determine the genetic health of the endangered species and populations, which are both fundamental to identify evolutionary significant units of conservation.