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CODE 108604
SEMESTER 1° Semester
MODULES Questo insegnamento è un modulo di:



The active participation to frontal lessons, seminars, field activities and individual study will allow students to: -appraise the theoretical basis of wildlife monitoring and the main issues related to monitoring plans; -appraise the main metrics applied to population/community monitoring; -appraise the basic monitoring techniques and sampling protocols, as well as the main issues related to monitoring plans; -appraise the most common statistical techniques to analyze monitoring data in order to achieve reliable estimates of population/community metrics; -appraise the most widespread techniques employed in the monitoring programmes of the species included within the Habitats Council Directive 92/43/EEC; -apply theoretical knowledge and practical skills to design a simple monitoring plan and to analyze field data with appropriate statistical techniques.


Active participation in the proposed training activities (lectures, technical visits and field activities) together with individual study will allow the student to:

- learn the theoretical bases of monitoring and the main problems for planning functional sampling protocols;

- learn the main metrics for communities / populations to be used in monitoring plans

- learn the main monitoring techniques and sampling methodologies, as well as the problems associated with them;

- learn the main statistical techniques of data analysis deriving from specific sampling protocols, in order to obtain estimates of the metrics selected for communities / populations;

- investigate the most common techniques of sampling and data analysis designed for species included in the Habitat Directive 92/43 / EEC and according to the specific threats present on the Italian territory;

- apply the practical and theoretical knowledge obtained during the course, in order to design a monitoring plan with an adequate sampling protocol and analyze the resulting data with the appropriate statistical techniques;


The module consists of lectures, for a total of about 36 hours and field activities for 12 hours. Attendance to lessons and practical activities is not compulsory, but strongly recommended. Field exercises and technical visits are always conducted by the lecturer in charge.




  • Introduction to the course (structure and contents of the course; Aul@web and resources; importance of field activities; exam and assessment methods)
  • Definition of monitoring and theoretical aspects: concept of adaptive monitoring
  • Objectives of monitoring, spatial and temporal planning: long-term monitoring and possible alternatives.
  • Levels of biological organization (communities / populations) and related metrics: species occurrence, diversity indices, abundance / density, demographic parameters.
  • Main statistical properties of metrics and related problems: the concept of sampling bias and imperfect detection.
  • Theory and practice of the main statistical techniques used to estimate monitoring metrics: Site Occupancy Models, Capture-Mark-Recapture, N-mixture Models, Distance Sampling
  • Strategies for planning and implementing functional monitoring: cost effectiveness and monitoring effort.
  • Population monitoring following reintroduction / repopulation interventions: reproductive success, demography.
  • Main conservation threats, monitoring strategies and sampling protocols for the species included in the Habitat Directive 92/43 / EEC
  • Focus on some specific threats: monitoring and conservation of species present in agroecosystems
  • Practical examples and case studies of planning and execution of monitoring on species included in the Habitat Directive 92/43 / EEC

Technical visits and field exercises (in common with the PRINCIPLES OF CONSERVATION BIOLOGY).

  • Use of camera traps as a tool for monitoring and conservation of fauna: methods of use in the field and data analysis
  • Estimation of the abundance of animal populations in the natural environment (Capture-Mark-Recapture, Distance sampling and double observer): practical application in the field and data analysis


Lectures' materials are available to students on Aul@web, as well as other material not covered by copyright.

Recommended text: Primack & Boitani (2013). Biologia della conservazione. Zanichelli.

Legislative, regulatory and open access scientific articles will be uploaded on Aul@web.


Exam Board

ANDREA COSTA (President)



Class schedule

The timetable for this course is available here: Portale EasyAcademy



The exam is closely integrated with the PRINCIPLES OF CONSERVATION BIOLOGY module. Students will be divided into working groups of 2 or 3 members and will have to prepare three assignments:

  1. Each group will be assigned a scientific article related to the topics of the course. Students must prepare and present a presentation on the assigned article and conduct/moderate a debate involving other students and lecturers.
  2. Each group will be assigned the design of a monitoring plan for a species included in the Habitats Directive and occurring within a specific protected area. Each group must design the monitoring plan within the assigned study area and include the use of the most appropriate monitoring techniques for the assigned case. Each group will write a paper (approximately 10 pages) detailing the monitoring plan and justifying the choice of techniques used.
  3. Taking into account the methods proposed in point 2, the lecturers will assign a dataset consistent with the project and suitable for analysis using one or more techniques presented during the course. Students must then analyze the data provided by the lecturers, prepare a presentation, and present the results.


Assessment methods are explained in the first introductory lesson, which is available, like all the others, on Aul@web. Each student's assignment is evaluated by both lecturers, who assess the development of critical and proactive skills in each assignment through a written questionnaire followed by a discussion with the students.


Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals
Clean water and sanitation
Clean water and sanitation
Climate action
Climate action
Life on land
Life on land


 PRO3 - Soft skills - Alfabetica base 1 - A
PRO3 - Soft skills - Alfabetica base 1 - A