Dr Luca Butikofer

After a bachelor in Natural Sciences and a Master in Ecosystems Management at the University of Pavia (Italy), I enrolled as PhD candidate at Massey University (New Zealand) to study the impact of human activities on the natural dispersal of species.

My doctoral research draws from a wide breadth of disciplines and methodologies, including field study, population and landscape genetics, spatial population modelling and simulation, programming an R package (Biolinv), Geographical Information Systems (GIS) analyses, and development of novel theory. It tackles the problems of invasive species, habitat fragmentation (landscape genetics) and range shifts (induced by climate change) as instances of human-altered dispersal patterns.

In my MSc I took part in the ecology team of the UNESCO Development Aid Program for the island of Socotra (Yemen). There, I conducted basic herpetological surveys and morphological analysis contributing to the description of the then largely unknown local fauna. My BSc thesis was in freshwater ecology.

Although I often favour computer modelling in my work, coming from a classical ecology background, I value field work and data collection as well. My current research interests gravitate around the topics of spatial ecology, biogeography, agriculture and conservation.

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