The 2015-2016 Sarah and Daniel Hrdy Visiting Fellow

Francesca Cagnacci
Confirmed researcher, Wildlife and Conservation Biology
Ph.D., Evolutionary Biology, University of Siena
M.A., Biology, University of Milano and Siena


Francesca Cagnacci  Francesca Cagnacci is a behavioral and conservation ecologist with research emphasis on effects of climate and global change on animal spatial distribution and movement. Her research interests span management and conservation practices at different spatial scales, ecosystem services, terrestrial mammalogy, ecology of wildlife diseases and host-parasite dynamics, and adoption of humane measures for the management of problematic wildlife.

While a Hrdy Fellow, Dr Cagnacci will focus on the link between individual and population space use patterns, by studying movement tactics of large terrestrial mammals in heterogeneous landscapes exposed to climatic and human-induced changes. She will also teach a junior seminar course on conservation of wildlife species and critical habitats, including an overview of the state-of-the-art technologies and methodologies to approach conservation problems.

Dr Cagnacci is a permanent researcher at the Research and Innovation Centre at Edmund Mach Foundation for agriculture and environmental studies, in the Italian Alps. She is also a Faculty affiliate at the College of Forestry and Conservation, at the University of Montana. She initiated and coordinates the bottom-up research consortium EURODEER, to share and study movement data at the distribution range of deer species, under climatic and human-impact large scale gradients. She sits on editorial boards, steering committees and evaluation panels of scientific journals, societies and associations involved in wildlife and conservation studies and policy assessments in Europe, North America, and Brazil. She has been leading or advising fieldwork projects for 20 years on terrestrial mammals, from rodents to large herbivores and carnivores, in a diversity of environments and conservation areas in Europe, North and South America, with a special focus on mountainous and alpine environments.

Dr. Cagnacci combines biological research with a deep interest in development and application of technology to address conservation issues and animal ecology questions (biotelemetry). She pioneered the use of GPS (Global Positioning System) to study wildlife in the Alps, and was corresponding editor of a Theme Issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society that became a reference reading on the subject. She collaborates with engineers and Information and Communication Technology scientists to ‘export’ state-of-the-art communication technologies and algorithms to ecology and conservation (e.g. spatial data models to manage and analyze GPS wildlife tracking data, wireless sensor networks, data mining techniques). She has recently developed interest in the application of next-generation sequencing to microbiomes and diet of ungulates, in relation to space use patterns and movement.

Philosophical Transactions Spatial Database Dr. Cagnacci is active in research outreach to the general public, for example she has organized popular communication events to support research and conservation of mammals (M’ammalia) and application of technology to animal ecology (ICT days; EU Researchers’ nights). She was invited to present a TEDx talk on nature conservation to foster quality of life, and to write several popular articles and documentaries on mammals and movement ecology. Her research has appeared in journals such as Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Methods in Ecology and Evolution, Journal of Animal Ecology, Biological Conservation, Journal of Wildlife Management. Her work has been covered by BBC and RAI documentaries, the National Geographic website and Italian and European national and local newspapers.

We are currently accepting applications for the Hrdy Visiting Fellowship for both the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 academic years. Deadline is December 1, 2016.

Past Recipients of the Hrdy Fellowship and the Academic Year of Their Appointments.

Joe Roman, 2014-15
Michael Russello, 2013-14
Helen James, 2011-12
Per Palsbøll, 2010-2011
H. Bradley Shaffer, 2009-10
Navjot Sodhi, 2008-09
David Roberts, 2007-08
Tamas Szekeley, 2006-07
Amy Dunham, 2005-06
Claus Wedekind, 2004-05
Richard Frankham, 2003-04
Andrew Torrance, 2002-03
Zoe Cardon, 2002-03
Manuel Lerdau, 2001-02
Callum Roberts, 2000-01
Matthew Hare, 1999-2000