Dr PonDerat

The title of Matteo's thesis

3 February 2020

We announce with pleasure and pride that Matteo De Santis, our first student, graduated with honors on Friday 24 January. As a conclusion of his degree course in Ecobiology, carried out at the Sapienza University of Rome, Dr. De Santis spent several months with PonDerat technicians in monitoring flora and fauna.

His thesis, entitled "Effects of the eradication of the black rat (Rattus rattus) on animal and plant communities of the Ponziane Islands", was aimed at providing a short-term evaluation of the effects of PonDerat on a large number of animals and plants, as well as at providing a detailed analysis protocol that we will apply in the coming years for medium and long-term assessments.

The results of Matteo’s thesis show that just one year after rat eradication, the first positive results on the biodiversity of Ponziane can already be observed, especially on plants and invertebrates, showing that the interventions aimed at the protection of charismatic species, such as shearwaters, can often have a positive impact on many other ecosystem components.

This is how Matteo describes his experience in Life PonDerat: "The research experience carried out within Life PonDerat has allowed me to tackle a poorly-known and heterogeneous topic such as the response of a complex ecosystem, with many interacting factors, to the removal of an invasive species, verifying its benefits (often underestimated) for different components of the island ecosystem. The choice to use a community-based approach, instead of a single species-approach, has proved to be winning, representing a unicum at European level.

Thanks to this thesis, I could to collaborate with PonDerat research group, enjoying the enthusiasm, passion and great professionalism of experts in several fields of nature sciences. It was an immense enrichment for me, both professionally and humanly. The sharing of knowledge in the wonderful scenario of the Ponziano Archipelago was extremely educational, as well as pleasant. A special thanks goes to all the people who, with great competence and dedication, have transmitted to me knowledge and passion."

Well done, Matteo!