Valeria Senigaglia

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PhD Candidate

Research Interests

My main interest lies in how behaviour can inform conservation. Previously, I have explored impacts of whale-watching and social affiliation in black fishes (killer whales, pilot whales and melon-headed whales), focusing on behavioural differences within population. For my PhD I will explore the effect of food provisioning on bottlenose dolphins and combine ecological and socio-economic data to develop an evaluating framework that will inform management.

Originally from Italy, I conducted my first thesis at Dalhousie University, Canada and obtained a MRes from University of Aberdeen in Scotland. I researched in Spain and the Philippines and spent one year in the USA as a Fulbright scholar. I am a keen science writer and communicator, active on several platform and publications.

The main aims of my research are:

  • assessing short and long-term effects of food provisioning on Indo Pacific bottlenose dolphins
  • assessing the frequency and spread of begging behaviour and its correlation with food provisioning and human interactions
  • determine the socio-economic drivers of human-dolphin interactions in Bunbury
  • develop a qualitative framework to evaluate socio-ecological dynamics of human-wildlife conflict

Supervisors: Prof. Lars Bejder, Dr. Fredrik Christiansen.

June 2016 – present: Doctor of Philosophy in Marine Science, Murdoch University, Australia. International Postgraduate Research Scholarship.
2010 – 2011: MRes Marine and Fisheries Science (with commendation), University of Aberdeen, UK. Thesis: Influence of perceived predation risk on foraging behaviour among different social groups in Northern fish-eating Killer whales.
2000 – 2004: BSc Ecological Biology (100/110), Università degli Studi di Parma, Italy. Honours dissertation: Environmental and social factors influencing breathing and synchronization patterns in long-finned pilot whales.

Awards
2016: Murdoch International Postgraduate Scholarship (MIPS)
2012: Fullbright scholarship
2010: 2nd Placement in the Rossana Majorca Prize for outstanding thesis on Marine Biology

Peer-reviewed
Senigaglia V., Christiansen F., Bejder L., Gendron D., Lundquist D., Noren D.P., Schaffar A., Smith J.C., Williams R., Martinez E., Stockin K., Lusseau D. Meta-analyses of whalewatching impact studies. Comparisons of cetacean responses to disturbance. Marine Ecological Progress Series 542: 251–263. doi: 10.3354/meps11497
V.Senigaglia, R. de Stephanis, P. Verborgh, D. Lusseau. 2012. The role of synchronized swimming as affiliative and anti-predatory behaviour in long finned pilot whales. Behavioural Processes 91; 8–14. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2012.04.011
V. Senigaglia, H. Whitehead,2011. Synchronous breathing by pilot whales. Marine Mammal Science. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-7692.2011.00465.x

Conference proceedings
V. Senigaglia et al. 2012. Meta-analyses of whalewatching impact studies: differences and similarities in disturbance responses among species. SC/64/WW6
D. Lusseau, V. Senigaglia. 2011. Report on the first call for collaboration for LaWE. SC/63/WW4

Conference presentations
Senigaglia V., Williams R., Lusseau D. 2015. Inter-group differences in foraging ecology of Northern fish-eating Killer Whales (Orcinus orca, Linnaeus 1758). 21st Biennial conference of the Society for Marine Mammalogy, San Francisco.
V. Senigaglia et al. 2014. Meta-analyses of whalewatching impact studies: differences and similarities in disturbance responses among species. 28th Conference of the European Cetacean Society, Belgium.
V. Senigaglia et al. 2013. Meta-analyses of whalewatching impact studies: differences and similarities in disturbance responses among species. 20th Biennial conference of the Society for Marine Mammalogy, New Zealand.
A. Ponzo, V. Senigaglia, J. Silberg, D. Clark. 2013. Peps’ peeps. Socioecology of Peponocephala electra in the Bohol Sea, Philippines. 20th Biennial conference of the Society for Marine Mammalogy, New Zealand.
V.Senigaglia, R. de Stephanis, P. Verborgh, D. Lusseau. 2011. The role of synchronized swimming as affiliative and anti-predatory behaviour in long finned pilot whales. 19th Biennial conference of the Society for Marine Mammalogy, Florida.
V.Senigaglia, H.Whitehead, 2010. Let’s take a breath together. Synchronized respiration pattern in long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas). Student Conference of Conservation Science, Cambridge.
V.Senigaglia, H.Whitehead, 2009. Let’s take a breath together. Synchronized respiration pattern in long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas). 23rd Conference of the European Cetacean Society, Istanbul, Turkey.

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Valeria_Senigaglia

Work experience

Mar – May 2016: Murdoch University, Murdoch, Australia
Researcher, working on a review of long-term effects of whalewatching and anthropogenic noise on cetacean
Feb – Jul 2013: LAMAVE, Bohol, Philippines
Senior researcher and principal investigator on cetacean biodiversity in the Bohol sea and socio-ecology of melon-headed whales
2011 – 2016: LaWE, University of Aberdeen, UK
Principal investigator conducting a meta-analyses of whalewatching impact among cetacean species in different world locations

Voluntary positions

Feb- Jun 2012: LAMAVE, Bohol, Philippines
Senior researcher on cetacean biodiversity in the Bohol sea and whale shark feeding tourism
Feb – Aug 2010: CIRCE, Strait of Gibraltar, Spain
Researcher on the role of synchronization as response to whalewatching impact and social affiliation behaviour of pilot whales and its variation among different matrilines
Jun – Sep 2008: Dalhouise University, Halifax, Canada
Researcher on the role of synchronization in pilot whales

Valeria Senigaglia
Cetacean Research Unit
Veterinary and Life Sciences
Murdoch University
South Street
Murdoch
WA 6250
Australia

valeria.senigaglia@gmail.com
v.senigaglia@murdoch.edu
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Valeria_Senigaglia

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