Simona Picardi

Simona holding a Wood Stork chick in 2017 Simona holding a Wood Stork chick in 2017

Simona started her PhD in the MabLab in August 2015 and successfully defended her dissertation in September 2019. Her PhD project focused on movement ecology of wood storks in the southeastern U.S. Specifically, her objective was to quantify fitness consequences of behavioral heterogeneity among individuals in terms of migratory behavior. After formally establishing the status of the population as partially migratory, her results showed that foraging-site selection during breeding mediates fitness consequences of individual migratory choices (i.e., migration or residency). As part of her PhD work, Simona also developed an R package, nestR, to detect nest-sites and estimate avian reproductive outcome from movement data. During the last year of her PhD, Simona was supported by the Everglades Foundation through the 2018 ForEverglades Graduate Scholarship. In 2019, Simona was also recognized with the Outstanding Graduate Student award by the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation.

Simona is a quantitative ecologist with special expertise in movement ecology. Her research focuses on behavioral heterogeneity in movement behavior and how it helps populations persist in the face of anthropogenic change. Since 2020, she is employed as a postdoctoral researcher at Utah State University, where she leads research in support of conservation and management of greater sage-grouse and their habitats.

Simona holding a sage-grouse chick in 2020 Simona holding a sage-grouse chick in 2020

Simona is also passionate about teaching programming and reproducible science tools. She is a certified instructor for the Carpentries, whose mission is to foster informatics literacy among researchers worldwide. While at UF, Simona was involved with the governance of the UF Carpentries Club by organizing workshops and serving on the Club’s Board. At Utah State, she has developed the graduate course Reproducible Data Science to teach students tools and techniques to manage their data reproducibly throughout their life cycle, from collection to publication.

Check Simona’s website for more updates!