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Carlo Ruffino

  • Phd: 39th cycle
  • Matriculation number: 803406

Phd thesis

Conservation of endangered fish species: habitat improvements and allochthonous predator control

My research is part of the LIFE Minnow project, a conservation project that aims to carry out interventions in the secondary basin of the Upper Po River to prevent the decline of six species of small freshwater fish, some of which are endemic to this area. The survival of these species is threatened by a long series of factors, ranging from climate change, competition with allochthonous species, habitat alterations, and morphological transformations of waterways. My PhD research activities will be focusing on habitat improvements and allochthonous predator control. 

Given the importance of the target species for the aquatic communities, it is essential to better understand their ecological and environmental requirements and remove dams that prevent fish movement along the watercourse. Restoring longitudinal connectivity will be critical especially for the recovery of populations of those species with less ability to move, like the European bullhead (Cottus gobio), or other that need to make long movements to reach breeding areas, like the South European nase (Protochondrostoma genei) and the Italian nase (Chondrostoma soetta).

Moreover, another major impact for the target species and the aquatic community in general, is the presence of multiple allochthonous species. The introduction of Invasive Alien fish Species is one of the main problems regarding the protection of the freshwater aquatic environment, therefore IAS species control is one of the main objectives of my research,  with a focus on Wels catfish (Silurus glanis), one of the most wide-spread IAS in northern Italy and one of the major causes for the decline of aquatic biodiversity, due to its position as an apex predator and its trophic plasticity. Understanding Silurus glanis ecology, movement behaviour and environmental preferences in the Po River is fundamental to properly evaluate its impact on endemic species already endangered and to develop timely and effective actions to contain this highly invasive and interfering species.


Research activities

 - Pollo, A., Piccini, I., Chiara, J., Porro, E., Chiantore, D., Gili, F., ... & Bonelli, S. (2022). An Innovative Approach for Subnational Climate Adaptation of Biodiversity and Ecosystems: The Case Study of a Regional Strategy in Italy. Sustainability14(10), 6115.

- Fenoglio, S., Baltieri, M., Lo, C. P., Marucco, F., Ruffino, C., & Doretto, A. (2021). Fly fishing no-kill zones: a possible way to conjugate conservation issues, sustainable sport enhancement and local development in Alpine areas?. Journal of Limnology80, 1-13.

Last update: 29/02/2024 14:32
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