Giulio De Leo
Professor of Biology
Population Dynamics & Management

Senior Fellow, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment
(831) 655 6202
deleo at stanford dot edu

Websites: Awards

De LeoMy primary research interest is in the use of ecological theory, particularly life history-based models, in population dynamics and management. I use advanced mathematical and computational techniques to identify basic first-principles of the ecology of infectious diseases, to explore costs and benefits of alternative policies for natural resource management in a multi-objective, multi-attribute framework and to analyse population dynamics and extinction risk of endangered populations. My research focuses on population management in a variety of ways, including quantitative studies of real-world systems and purely theoretical studies that inform practical management approaches. My goal is to assess the effect of ecological and environmental heterogeneities on population dynamics and  management and to estimate key parameters that may be incorporated into population models useful for decision-making.

Much of my research is collaborative and ranges across taxa and disciplines. This is reflected in the diversity of journals and topics on which I published. My broad quantitative training has allowed me to research fundamental questions in quantitative ecology, such as those related to scaling laws in ecology and the analysis of population dynamics, as well as more applied questions on conservation of endangered species, fishery management and environmental impacts. I am especially interested in connecting academic science to decision tools and effective conservation practices. I worked extensively on the demography, conservation and management of  the European eel (A. anguilla) and the marble trout (S. marmoratus), the optimal bioeconomic management of mollusc farming and the development of Habitat Suitability models for the Manila clam T. philippinarum, the problem of algal bloom control in Adriatic coastal lagoons and the development of Rapid Assessment Methods to assess the  status of coastal lagoons throughout Italy. Recently, my work has also focused on the interactions between spatial networks of Marine Protected Areas and different schemes of fishery management, a problem that I am addressing both from a theoretical perspective and, specifically, for the abalone fishery of Isla de Nadividad in Mexico. 

I am also interested in modelling wild animal diseases, with specific reference to the analysis of the costs and the effectiveness of different strategies for the control and eradication of pathogens in the wildlife and the identification of scaling laws in host-parasite systems by using allometric relationships of host body size.
Finally, I studied, through bioeconomics analysis, the anthropogenic impact on human health and ecosystems in order to understand the costs and benefits associated with the environmental policies of both the private and public sectors. Specifically, I have used techniques for the monetary and non monetary assessment of local and global external costs of energy production to assess the economic benefits of the Kyoto Protocol in Italy.

I conduct my research activity at the Hopkins Marine Station and, as a senior fellow, at the Woods Institute for the Environment, where I am going to teach courses in population dynamics and natural resource management. Currently, my research group includes 3 PhD students, 1 post-doc, and 1 technician.   

My additional collaborations include a suite of Italian, European and US Institutions, i.e.,  Princeton University (Andrew Dobson), Emory University (Leslie Real), the biological station of Tour du Valat in France (Alain Crivellì), the National Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) in Santa Barbara (UCSB, USA) the EIFAC/ICES Working Group on Eel and, in Italy, Politecnico di Milano (Marino Gatto), University of Padua (Lorenzo Zane), of Milan (Silvia Galassi), of Ferrara (Remigio Rossi e Giuseppe Castaldelli), of Venice (Patrizia Torricelli)  and the Italian Minister of Fisheries (MIPAF) serving in the panel for the design of the Eel Management plan according to the EU Regulation 1100/07.

Selected Publications

Luca Bolzoni, Valentina Tessoni, Maria Groppi, Giulio A. De Leo. React or wait: which optimal culling strategy to control infectious diseases in wildlife. Journal of Mathematical Biology, October 2014, Volume 69, Issue 4, pp 1001-1025

Fiorenza Michelia, Giulio De Leoa, Cheryl Butnera, Rebecca G. Martonea, Geoff Shestera, A risk-based framework for assessing the cumulative impact of multiple fisheries, Biological Conservation, Volume 176, August 2014, Pages 224–235

Fiorenza Micheli1, Giulio De Leo, Geoff G Shester, Rebecca G Martone, Salvador E Lluch-Cota, Cheryl Butner, Larry B Crowder, Rod Fujita, Stefan Gelcich, Monica Jain, Sarah E Lester, Bonnie McCay, Robin Pelc, and Andrea Sáenz-Arroyo, A system-wide approach to supporting improvements in seafood production practices and outcomes, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Volume 12, Issue 5 (June 2014)

Michael Hsieh, Giulio De Leo, Susanne Sokolow, New Solutions for Global Control of Parasitic Infections: The Case of Schistosomiasis, Ecosystem Services and Conservation, November 21, 2013

José Martin Pujolar, Marcello Schiavina, Antonio Di Franco, Paco Melià, Paolo Guidetti, Marino Gatto, Giulio De Leo, Lorenzo Zane, Understanding the effectiveness of marine protected areas using genetic connectivity patterns and Lagrangian simulations, Oceans, July 23, 2013

Michele Cordioli, Andrea Ranzi, Giulio De Leo, Paolo Lauriola, A review of exposure assessment methods in epidemiological studies on incinerators, Public Health, June 12, 2013

Marisa Rossetto, Giulio De Leo, Ashley Greenley, Leo Vazquez, Andrea Sáenz-Arroyo, Jose Antonio Espinoza Montes, Fiorenza Micheli, Reproductive Potential Can Predict Recruitment Rates in Abalone, Ecosystem Services and Conservation, Oceans, April 1, 2013

Luca Bolzoni, Giulio De Leo, Unexpected consequences of culling on the eradication of wildlife diseases: the role of virulence evolution, Ecosystem Services and Conservation, March 1, 2013

Michele Cordioli, Simone Vincenzi, Giulio De Leo, Effects of heat recovery for district heating on waste incineration health impact: A simulation study in Northern Italy, Public Health, February 1, 2013

Silvia Quadroni, Silvana Galassi, Fabrizio Capoccioni, Eleonora Ciccotti, Gilberto Grandi, Giulio De Leo, Roberta Bettinetti, Contamination, parasitism and condition of Anguilla anguilla in three Italian stocks, Ecosystem Services and Conservation, Oceans, October 18, 2012

Vincenzi S., M Bellingeri e G.A. De Leo. Consequences of extreme events on population persistence and evolution of a quantitative trait. Accepted on Ecological Informatics.

Rossetto M, G.A. De Leo, D. Bevacqua and F. Micheli. 2011. Allometric scaling of mortality rates with body mass in abalones. Oecologia, DOI 10.1007/s00442-011-2163-1

Vincenzi S, Crivelli AJ, Jesensek D, De Leo GA, 2011. Translocation of stream-dwelling salmonids in headwaters: insights from a  15-year reintroduction experience. Fish and Fisheries..   DOI 10.1007/s11160-011-9235-5

De Leo Giulio A. & L. Bolzoni 2011. Getting a free ride on poultry farms:  How highly pathogenic avian influenza may persist in spite of its virulence. Theoretical Ecology. In press, already available on line.

Pujolar, J.M,  Vincenzi S, Crivelli AJ, Jesensek D, De Leo GA, 2011. The effect of recurrent floods on genetic composition of marble trout populations. PlosOne. 6(9):e23822   DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0023822

Bevacqua D., M. Andrello, P. Melià, S. Vincenzi, G. A. De Leo, A.J. Crivelli. 2011 Density-dependent and inter-specific interactions affecting European eel settlement in freshwater habitats. Hydrobiologia 671(1):259-265. doi. 10.1007/s10750-011-0725-1,  .

Vincenzi S, Zucchetta M, Franzoi P, Pellizzato M, De Leo GA. Torricelli P, 2011. Application of a Random Forest algorithm to predict spatial distribution of the potential yield of Ruditapes philippinarum in the Venice lagoon, Italy. Ecological Modelling, 222(8):1471-1478

Pujolar, J.M., Bevacqua, D., Andrello, M., Capoccioni, F., Ciccotti, E., De Leo, G.A., Zane, L. 2011. No apparent genetic bottleneck in the demographically declining European eel using molecular genetics and forward-time simulations", Conservation Genetics. 12(3):813-825.

Vincenzi S, Crivelli AJ, Jesensek D, G Rossi, Giulio A. De Leo 2011. Innocent until proven guilty? Stable coexistence of alien rainbow trout and native marble trout in a Slovenian stream. Naturwissenschaften. 98(1):57-66.

Andrello M., Bevacqua D., Maes G.E. and Giulio A. De Leo 2011 Unraveling the origin of genetic structure in the endangered European eel (Anguilla anguilla L.) using a hybrid genetic-demographic model. Evolutionary Applications. 4(4):517–533.

Pujolar, J.M., Bevacqua, D., Andrello, M., Capoccioni, F., Ciccotti, E., De Leo, G.A., Zane, L. 2011. Genetic patchiness in European eel adults evidenced by molecular genetics and population dynamics modelling. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 58:198-206. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2010.11.019

Bevacqua D. Melià P, Giulio A. De Leo & M Gatto 2011. Intra-specific scaling of natural mortality in fish: the paradigmatic case of the European eel. Oecologia. 165(2):333-339, DOI 10.1007/s00442-010-1727-9.

Bettinetti R, Galassi S, Quadroni S, Volta P, Capoccioni F, Ciccotti E. & Giulio A. De Leo 2011. Use of Anguilla anguilla for Biomonitoring Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in Brackish and Riverine Waters in Central and Southern Italy. Water Air Soil Pollution, 217(1-4):321-331, DOI 10.1007/s11270-010-0590-y.

Bevacqua D., Melià P., Follesa M.C., De Leo G.A., Gatto M. and A. Cau 2010 Body growth and mortality of the spiny lobster Palinurus elephas within and outside a small marine protected area. Fisheries Research, 106:543-549, doi: 10.1016/j.fishres.2010.10.008

Vincenzi S, Crivelli AJ, Jesensek D, De Leo GA, 2010. Detection of density-dependent growth at two spatial scales in marble trout ( Salmo marmoratus) populations. Ecology of Freshwater Fish. 19(3):338–347.   DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0633.2010.00416.x

Vincenzi S, Crivelli AJ, Jesensek D, De Leo GA, 2010. Individual growth and its implications for the recruitment dynamics of stream-dwelling marble trout ( Salmo marmoratus). Ecology of Freshwater Fish. Volume 19(3): 477–486.  DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0633.2010.00441.x.

Costello C.  A. Rassweiler, D. Siegel, G.De Leo, F. Micheli and  A. Rosenberg 2010. The value of spatial information in MPA network design. PNAS. 107: 18294-18299, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0908057107

Vincenzi S., A. J. Crivelli, D. Jesensek, G.A. De Leo, 2010. The management of small, isolated salmonid populations: do we have to fix it if it ain ’t broken? Animal Conservation, 13(1):21–23. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2009.00292.x

Pujolar J. M., D. Bevacqua, F. Capoccioni, E. Ciccotti, G. A. De Leo and L. Zane 2009. Genetic variability is unrelated to growth and parasite infestation in natural populations of the European eel ( Anguilla anguilla). Molecular Ecology, 18:4604–4616 (10.1111/j.1365-294X.2009.04390.x).

Bevacqua D., G. A. De Leo, M. Gatto and P. Melià 2009. Size selectivity of fyke nets for European eel ( Anguilla anguilla L.). Journal of Fish Biology  74:2178–2186. (IF 2007 1.40 ranking B: 15/40 in Fisheries)

Pujolar J, De Leo G, Zane L. 2009. Genetic Composition of Atlantic and Mediterranean populations of European Eel ( Anguilla anguilla) based on EST-linked Microsatellite Loci. Journal of Fish Biology, 74:2034–2046. (IF 2007 1.40 ranking B: 15/40 in Fisheries)

S.Vincenzi, A. J. Crivelli, D. Jesensek, G.A. De Leo, 2008. Total population density during the first year of life as a major determinant of lifetime body-length trajectory in marble trout. Ecology of Freshwater Fish. 17: 515–519 DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0633.2008.00309.x    (IF 1.206 RANKING 18/40  in FISHERIES)

Bolzoni L, Gatto M, Dobson AP and GA De Leo 2008. Allometric scaling and seasonality in the epidemics of wildlife diseases. American Naturalist, 172(6): 818-828. DOI: 10.1086/593000  (IF  4.543, ranking A: 9/116 in Ecology)

Lafferty K.D...., G. De Leo et al. 2008. Parasites in food webs: the ultimate missing links. Ecology Letters 11:533-546. (IF 8.2, ranking A: 4/116)
Vincenzi S., A. J. Crivelli, D. Jesensek, J.F. Rubin, G.A. De Leo 2008. The role of density-dependent individual growth in the persistence of freshwater salmonid populations. Oecologia, 156:523-534 (IF 2.973 ranking A: 28/116 in Ecology)

Bolzoni L, Gatto M, Dobson AP and GA De Leo 2008. Body-size scaling in an SEI model of wildlife diseases. Theoretical Population Biology. 73:374-382 (IF  1.950, ranking B: 48/116 in Ecology).

Vincenzi  S, A. J. Crivelli, D. Jesensek, J.F. Rubin, G.A. De Leo, 2008. Potential factors controlling the population viability of newly introduced endangered marble trout populations. Biological Conservation. 141: 198-210. (IF 3.296 ranking A: 21/116  in Ecology)

Bevacqua D., P. Melià, A. J. Crivelli, M. Gatto and G. A. De Leo 2007. Multi-objective assessment of conservation measures for the European eel ( Anguilla anguilla): an application to the Camargue lagoons. ICES Journal of Marine Science. 64: 1483-1490. (IF 2007 1.93 ranking A:  6/40 in Fisheries)

Vincenzi S, G. Caramori, R. Rossi, G. A. De Leo 2007. A comparative analysis of three habitat suitability models for commercial yield estimation of Tapes philippinarum in a North Adriatic coastal lagoon (Sacca di Goro, Italy). Marine Pollution Bulletin, 55(10):579-590 (IF 2.334 ranking A: 13/86  in Marine & Freshwater Biology).

Bolzoni L, Real L, De Leo G. 2007. Transmission heterogeneity and control strategies for infectious disease emergence. PLoS ONE 2(8): e747 (IF 5.68)

Bolzoni L, De Leo G. 2007. A cost analysis of alternative culling strategies for the eradication of classical swine fever in wildlife. Environment and Development Economics 12(5): 1-20 (IF  0.595, ranking C: 40/52 in Environmental Studies).

Vincenzi S, Crivellì AJ, Jenseken D, Rubin JF e GA De Leo 2007. Early survival of marble trout Salmo marmoratus: evidence for density dependence? Ecology of Freshwater Fish, 16: 116-123 (IF 1.206 ranking B: 18/40 in Fisheries).

Vincenzi S, Crivellì AJ, Jenseken D, Rubin JF e GA De Leo. 2007 Density-dependent individual growth of marble trout ( Salmo marmoratus) in the Soca and Idrica river basins, Slovenia. Hydrobiologia 583:57-68 (IF 1.201 ranking B: 41/86 in Marine & Freshwater Biology).

Vincenzi S, G. Caramori, R. Rossi e G.A. De Leo 2006 Estimating clam yield potential in the Sacca di Goro lagoon (Italy) by using a two-part conditional model. Aquaculture 261: 1281-1291 (IF 1.735 ranking A: 7/40  in Fisheries).

Bevacqua D., P. Melià, A. J. Crivelli, G. A. De Leo and M. Gatto 2006. Timing and rate of sexual maturation of European eel in brackish and freshwater environments Journal of Fish Biology 69:200-208 (IF 2007 1.40 ranking B: 15/40 in Fisheries)

Carletti A. De Leo G. e I. Ferrari 2006. A Preliminary Coastal Wetland Assessment Procedure: Designing and Testing an Environmental Sustainability Index  for Mediterranean Lagoons. Chemistry & Ecology 22:S15 - S35(IF2007 0.475, ranking C 103/116 in Ecology).

Melià P., D. Bevacqua, A. J. Crivelli, J. Panfili, G. A. De Leo & M. Gatto 2006. Sex differentiation of the European eel in brackish and freshwater environments: a comparative analysis. Journal of Fish Biology 69, 1228­1235 (IF 2007 1.40 ranking B: 15/40 in Fisheries).

Hilborn, R. Micheli F. and De Leo G. 2006 Integrating marine protected areas with catch regulation. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science, 63:642-649 (IF2007 2.058, ranking A: 4/39 in Fisheries).

Melià P., D. Bevacqua, A. J. Crivelli, De Leo G., J. Panfili, and M. Gatto 2006. Age and growth of the European eel Anguilla anguilla in the Camargue lagoons. Journal of Fish Biology, 68:876-890 (ISSN: 0022-1112) (IF 2007 1.40 ranking B: 15/40 in Fisheries).

Vincenzi S., G. Caramori, R. Rossi e G.A. De Leo 2006. A GIS-based Habitat Suitability model for commercial yield estimation of Tapes philippinarum in a Mediterranean coastal lagoon (Sacca di Goro, Italy). Ecological Modelling, 193:90-104. (IF 2,077, ranking B:  46/116 in Ecology)

Carletti A., De Leo G.A.,  Ferrari I., 2004. A critical review of representative wetland rapid assessment methods in North America. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems.14:S103–S113. (IF 1.240, ranking 39/86 in Marine and Freshwater biology)

Melià P, De Leo GA, Gatto M. 2004. Density and temperature-dependence of vital rates in the Manila clam Tapes philippinarum: a stochastic demographic model. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 272:153-164 (IF2007 2.546, ranking 8/86 in Marine and Freshwater biology)

De Leo G.A., Guberti V. 2003. Effetti dell ’abbattimento Controllato sulla Evoluzione della Virulenza: il caso della Peste Suina Classica. Journal of Mountain Ecology, 7 (Suppl.): 107- 118

Cellina F., G.A. De Leo, A. Rizzoli, P. Viaroli, M. Bartoli. 2003 Ecological modelling as a tool to support macroalgal bloom management: a case study (Sacca di Goro, Po river delta). Oceanologica Acta, 26:139-147

De Leo G.A., M.Gatto, A.Caizzi, F.Cellina 2002. The ecological and economic consequences of Global climate change Recent Research development in Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Special issue: Biotechnology and Bioengineering of CO2 fixation, 163-183.

De Leo G. A., Bartoli M., Naldi M., Viaroli P. 2002.A first generation stochastic bioeconomic analysis of algal bloom control in a coastal lagoon (Sacca of Goro, Po river Delta). Marine Ecology, 23(supplement):92-100.

Gatto, M., A. Caizzi, L. Rizzi, and G. A. De Leo. 2002. The Kyoto Protocol is cost-effective. Conservation Ecology 6(1): r11. [online] URL:

De Leo G.A., Rizzi L., Caizzi A e Gatto, M. 2001. The economic benefit of Kyoto Protocol. Nature, 413:478-479.

De Leo G.A. e Gatto, M. 2001. Pricing Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Response from Gatto and De Leo to Pimentel comments. Bioscience, 51 (4): 271-272

De Leo G.A. e Gatto, M. 2001. A stochastic bioeconomic analysis of silver eel fisheries. Ecological Applications, 11(1): 281-294 

Gatto M. and De Leo, 2000. Pricing biodiversity and ecosystem services: the never ending story. Bioscience, 50:347-355.

Ranci Ortigosa, G., G.A. De Leo, M. Gatto. 2000. VVF: integrating modelling and GIS in a software tool for habitat suitability assessment. Environmental Modeling & Software, 15: 1-12.

Paris G., G.A. De Leo, P. Menozzi, M.Gatto, 1998. Region-based citation bias in science. Nature. 396:210.

De Leo G.A., G. Paris, P. Menozzi, M. Gatto, 1998. Spotlight Needed on Italian Policy. Nature, 391:12.

De Leo G.A., M.Gatto, 1998. “Interspecific competition among macroparasites in a density-dependent host population”. Journal of Mathematical Biology, 37:467-490.

Lampo M., G.A. De Leo, 1998. “The invasion ecology of the toad Bufo marinus: from South America to Australia”, Ecological Applications, 8(2):388-396.

Peterson G., G.A. De Leo, J.J. Hellmann, M.A. Janssen, A. Kinzig, J.R.Malcolm, K.L. O'Brien, S.E. Pope, D.S. Rothman, E. Shevliakova, and R.R.T.Tinch, 1997. Uncertainty, Climate Change, and Adaptive Management Conservation Ecology, Volume 1(2):Forum.

Peterson G., S. Pope, G.A. De Leo, M. Janssen, J. Malcolm, J. Parody, G. Hood, and M. North, 1997. “Ecology, Ethics, and Advocacy”. Conservation Ecology, Volume 1(1):Forum.

De Leo G.A., Simon Levin, 1997. “The Multifaceted Aspects of Ecosystem Integrity.” Conservation Ecology, Volume 1(1):3.

De Leo G.A., M. Gatto, 1996. “Modelling and Managing European Eels of the Valli di Comacchio Lagoons”,  Italian Journal of Applied Statistics – Statistica applicata, 8(1):229-239.

De Leo G.A., M. Gatto, 1996. "Trends in vital rates of the European eel: evidence for density dependence?”, Ecological Applications, 6(4):1281-1294.

De Leo G.A., A.P.Dobson, 1996. “Allometry and Simple Epidemic Models for Microparasites”, Nature, 379:720-722.

De Leo G.A., M. Gatto, 1995. "A Size and Age Structured Model of  the European Eel (Anguilla anguilla L.)", Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 52: 1351-1367.

De Leo G.A., L. Del Furia, G. Guariso, 1994. "Management of Subsurface Water bodies: a Computer Aided Approach to Model Choice and Implementation ", Journal of Environmental Management, 42:137-159.

De Leo G.A., I. Ferrari, 1993. "Disturbance and Diversity in a River Zooplankton Community: A Neutral Model Analysis", Coenoses:The interdisciplinary journal reporting progress in community and population studies, 8:121-129.

De Leo G.A., L.Del Furia, M.Gatto, 1993. “The Interaction Between Soil Acidity and Forest Dynamics: A Simple Model Exhibiting Catastrophic Behavior”, Theoretical Population Biology, 43:31-51.