My general interest is the construction of spatially explicit theoretical models, validated through experimental observations, with the aim of explaining a variety of processes such as territoriality, foraging, disease spread and ecosystem nutrient cycling. Some of the features central to these apparently disparate processes is how animals move and interact among each other. My objective is to study and ultimately predict how certain spatio-temporal ecological patterns emerge from basic “microscopic” interactions and movement rules.
Despite the vast literature on animal territoriality, quantification of its causes has eluded most studies. Due to the intrinsic integrative nature of territorial behaviour, useful theoretical tools, which measure how an animal responds to the presence of a neighbouring individual, are hard to find. Social interaction between conspecifics is often considered one of the main factors that shape how an animal occupies and shares space with its neighbours. Despite such an understanding, it is necessary to develop useful quantitative tools that predict how home range and home range overlap emerge from animal interaction. My goal, in this context, is to create such tools.
With the introduction of movement models (Lévy walks) that generalize correlated random walks one is able to measure the prey encounter rates of a given animal in an unpredictable low-density target environment and ask questions about search strategies. Within this framework the fine tuning of statistical methods that study the spatio-temporal trajectories becomes a key object to precisely quantify movement characteristics. I am interested in developing general quantitative methods that parameterize trajectory data in the context of anomalous (non-Brownian) diffusing animals. These statistical methods become necessary if one is interested in answering questions about if, when, and how animals forage efficiently.
The spread of zoonotic diseases depends crucially on how often a susceptible and an infected individual encounter each other. In the context of rodents carrying the Hanta virus, for example, the transmission of the infection is believed to occur via simple direct (aggressive) contacts. In other cases, the transmission is thought to occur via the mediation of certain insects, such as for the Plague epidemics. Besides the details of the transmission dynamics, the number of times animals encounter one another is one of the basic mechanism that determines if an epidemics will eventually spread. I am interested in quantifying such encounter rates and use it in constructing theoretical models of epidemic propagation.
View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system
Edit this profile If you are Dr Luca Giuggioli, you can edit this page. Login required.