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A strong connection with nature and wildlife since childhood, Gianluca Serra graduated in Biology at the University of Florence, Italy, in 1993, specializing in animal behavioural ecology. His early years of research focused on marine ecology, first in the Tuscany Archipelago (MSc) and later on the coast of Chile (PhD). Following a period of postdoctoral research in California with UC Berkeley and in the Tuscany Archipelago with the National Institute for Wildlife Conservation, he turned to nature conservation as an international civil servant and practitioner. His move to the Syrian desert in 2000, assigned to a UN development aid project, was the start of a 10-year ecological mission and an adventure that eventually drew him into Eastern Africa through following the migratory flight of the Northern Bald Ibis. Due to the onset of the unrest in Syria in 2011, he moved to the Samoan islands, Polynesia, to serve the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and to continue his commitment to nature conservation. In 2015 he started to work on the conservation of critically endangered Manumea, an endemic pigeon of Samoa.

Use Research Gate to download papers and publications mentioned in the lists below.

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Scientific papers (peer reviewed)

Serra, G. and D. Chatty. In submission. Community participation and awareness raising in a biodiversity conservation project within the central Syrian desert. Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning.

Serra G., Sherley G., Failagi S.A., Foliga S. T., Uili M., Enoka F. and T. Suaesi. Accepted. Traditional ecological knowledge on critically endangered and evolutionary distinctive Tooth-billed Pigeon (Didunculus strigirostris) endemic of Samoa. Bird Conservation International.

Serra, G., Lindsell, J.A., Peske, L., Fritz, J., Bowden, C.G.R., Bruschini, C., Welch, G., Tavares, J. and Wondafrash, M. 2015. Accounting for very low survival of a Critically Endangered bird on a major migratory flyway. Oryx 49 (2): 1-9.

Serra, G., Bruschini, C., Peske, L., Kubsa, A., Wondafrash, M., Lindsell, J. A. 2013. An assessment of ecological conditions and threats at the Ethiopian wintering site of the last known eastern colony of critically endangered Northern Bald Ibis Geronticuseremita. Bird Conservation International 23 (4): 399-413.

Serra G., Bruschini C., Lindsell J., Peske L., Kanani A. 2011. Breeding range of the last eastern colony of critically endangered N. Bald Ibises Geronticus eremita in the Syria steppe: a threatened area. Bird Conservation International 21 (3): 285-295.

Serra G., Peske L., Abdallah M.S., al Qaim G., Kanani A. 2009. Breeding ecology of the last oriental N. Bald Ibises in the Syria desert. Journal of Ornithology 150: 769-782.

Lindsell J., Serra G., Abdallah M.S., al Qaim G. and L. Peske. 2009. Satellite Tracking Reveals the Migration Route and Wintering Area of the Middle Eastern Population of Northern Bald Ibis. Oryx 43 (3): 329-335.

Serra G., Abdallah M. and G. Al Qaim. 2008. Feeding ecology and behaviour of last surviving middle eastern N. Bald Ibises breeding in the Syrian steppe. Zoology in the Middle East 43: 55-68.

Larrucea E.S., Serra G., Jaeger  M.M., Barrett  R.H. 2007. Censusing bobcats using remote cameras. Western North American Naturalist 67(4): 538-548.

Serra G., Abdallah M., Abdallah A., Al Qaim G., Fayed T., Assaed A., Williamson D. 2004. Discovery of a relict breeding colony of Northern Bald Ibis Geronticus eremita  in Syria: still in time to save the eastern population ? Oryx, 38 (1): 1-7.

Serra G., Lucentini M., Romano S. 2001. Diet and prey selection of nonbreeding peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus brookei) in a urban habitat of Italy. Journal of Raptor Research 35(1): 61-64.

Serra G., Chelazzi G., Castilla J.C. 2001. Temporal and spatial activity of the key-hole limpet Fissurella crassa (Mollusca: Gastropoda) in the Eastern Pacific. Journal of the Marine Biological Association U.K, 81(3): 485-490.

Serra G., Chelazzi G., Castilla J.C. 1997. Effects of experience and risk of predation on the foraging behaviour of the South-Eastern Pacific muricid Concholepas concholepas (Mollusca: Gastropoda).Journal of Animal Ecology, 66(6): 876-883.

Chelazzi G., Serra G., Bucciarelli G. 1997. Zonal recovery after experimental displacement in two sea urchins (Arbacia lixula and Paracentrotus lividus) co-occurring in the Mediterranean. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 212(1): 1-7.

Conservation reports

Serra, G. 2016. Biodiversity surveying of four KBAs in Samoa through traditional ecological knowledge: Uafato-Tiavea Coastal Forest, Apia Catchments, Central Savaii Rainforest And Falealupo Peninsula. Unpublished report, Apia, Samoa: MNRE and UNDP.

Serra G. and F.T Tipama’a. 2016. Invasive Alien Species Management Plan 2016-2020, Aleipata Islands, Samoa. Technical report on behalf of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Department of Environment and Conservation. 16 pp.

Serra G. and F.T Tipama’a. 2016. Invasive alien species survey of the Aleipata islands, Samoa, September-December 2015. Technical report on behalf of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Department of Environment and Conservation. 39 pp.

Serra G. and F.T Tipama’a. 2015. Review of invasive alien species management in the Aleipata islands, Samoa. GEF-PAS Invasive Alien Species project/Samoa. Technical report on behalf of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Department of Environment and Conservation. 25 pp

Young S. and G. Serra. 2015 Myna Survey. Report to inform the Samoan Myna Management Plan. Technical report on behalf of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Department of Environment and Conservation. 32 pp.

Serra G. 2011. Bird checklist: Udzungwas National Park (Tanzania) 10 – 17 April 2011. Trento Museum of Natural Sciences expedition, 10 – 17 April 2011. 3 pp.

Serra G. 2010. Ibis expedition in Saudi Arabia, March 2010.Report, National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration, 34 pp.

Serra G. 2010. Surveying Northern Bald Ibis Migratory Route Along Western Saudi Arabia, in March and August 2010.Research Report, National Geographic Society, Committee for Research and Exploration, Grant # 8479-08. 44pp.

Serra G., Nahaz M.M., Idan M., Peske L., Savioli A., Bruschini C., Alomari K. 2009. Assessment and characterization of the Ibis Protected Area in the Palmyra Desert – a proposed 5-year management and development framework. IUCN publication, 156 pp.

Serra G., Mirreh M., Kaddour H., Razzouk T., Al Jundi A., Kanani A., Batello C., Williamson D. 2009. Assessment and characterization of Al Talila Reserve and surrounding Palmyrean desert. IUCN/DGCS Project report. IUCN publication, 134 pp.

Serra G. and Wondafrash M. 2009.Eco-ethological and conservation survey of N. Bald Ibises wintering in the Northern Shawa (Ethiopia) during 2008-09.IUCN West Asia/DGCS Trust Fund Pilot Project, 22 pp.

Serra G. 2009. Jebel Kohla and wadi al Basira under threat. 2009. Report 3 pp, landscape heritage awareness campaign.

Serra G. 2008.Preliminary report on natural heritage sites in western Syria. Municipality Administration Modernization (MAM) project MED/2004/6264. EUROPE AID/119822/SV/SY. 22 pp

Serra G. 2008.Preliminary report on natural heritage sites in eastern Syria. Municipality Administration Modernization (MAM) project MED/2004/6264. EUROPE AID/119822/SV/SY. 25 pp.

Serra G. 2008. Ecotourism and nature tourism in Palmyra. In: Palmyra Region Strategic Action Plan: a Strategy for Sustainable Development. Municipality Administration Modernization (MAM) project MED/2004/6264: EUROPE AID/119822/SV/SY. 49 pp.

Serra G., Abdallah M. S. and G. Al Qaim. 2007. Occurrence of Rüppell’s Fox, Vulpes rueppelli and Sand Cat, Felis margarita, in Syria. Zoology in the Middle East, 42: 99-101.

Benyamini, D., Bruschini, C., Serra, G., E. John. 2007. First confirmed records of Papilio demoleus(Linnaeus 1758) in Syria, with comments on the species’ appearance  in Turkey and the Dominican Republic. News of the Is. Lepidopterists Society, 24(2): 4-10.

Celine Dutilly-Diane, Nancy McCarthy, Francis Turkelboom, Adriana Bruggeman, James Tiedemann, Kenneth Street, and Gianluca Serra. 2007. Could Payments for Environmental Services Improve Rangeland Management in Central Asia, West Asia and North Africa?.CAPRi working paper 62.Washington, DC: IFPRI.

Serra G., Peske L., Wondafrash M. 2007. Preliminary survey of Middle Eastern N. Bald Ibises at their recently discovered wintering grounds in Ethiopian highlands. BirdLife International / Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), internal report.

Serra G. 2007. Searching the wintering grounds of the recently discovered Syrian relict colony of critically endangered Northern Bald Ibis Geronticus eremita. Research Report, National Geographic Society, Committee for Research and Exploration, Grant #7993-06. 11 pp.

Serra G. 2007. Ecotourism in the Palmyra desert, Syria. A feasibility study. BirdLife International, 88 pp.

Serra G. and L. Peske. 2006. N. Bald Ibis conservation efforts in Syria 2002-2006: results and lessons learned. In N. Bald Ibis conservation and reintroduction workshop. Eds. C. Boehm, Bowden CGR, Jordan M. and C. King. Second meeting of the International Advisory Group on N. Bald Ibis (IAGNBI), Vejer (Spain) 2007.

Serra G. and L. Peske. 2006. Coordinating protection efforts of breeding N. Bald Ibises Geronticus eremita in Palmyra (Syria) and trapping / satellite tagging 3 individuals. BirdLife International / Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), internal report.

Serra G., Murdoch D., Turkelboom F., Travert F., Mujawer Y., Scott D. 2006. Sabkhat al-jabbul, a Threatened Ramsar Wetland in Syria. Sandgrouse 28 (2): 127-141.

Murdoch D.A. and G. Serra. 2006. The status of Sociable Plover Vanellus gregarius in Syria. Sandgrouse, 28(1): 57-61.

Serra G. 2006. Improving the living conditions of mobile indigenous people of Syrian arid steppe land through sustainable development and nature conservation. Project proposal and feasibility analysis commissioned by Fund for Integrated Rural Development Of Syria (FIRDOS), 27 + 23 pp.

Sindaco R., Serra G., Menegon M., 2006. New data on the Syrian herpetofauna, with a newly-recorded species of snake (Amphibia, Reptilia). Zoology in the Middle East, 37: 29-38.

Serra G., M. Abdallah and G. al Qaim. 2006. First breeding record of Trumpeter Finch Bucanetes githagineus in Syria. Sandgrouse28 (2): 173.

Murdoch D.A., Tyler G., Serra G., Bowden C. and M. Abdallah. 2005.  A record of Dunn’s Lark Eremalauda dunni from Syria. Sandgrouse 27 (1): 78.

Serra G. 2005. Dunn’s Lark Eremalauda dunni– a first record for Syria.Sandgrouse27 (1): 77.

Serra G., Al Qaim G., Abdallah M., Kanani A., AssaedA.K. 2005. A long-term bird survey of central Syrian desert (2000-2003) – Part 2. Sandgrouse, 27(2): 104-125.

Serra G., Abdallah M., Assaed A., Al Qaim G., Abdallah A. 2005. A long-term bird survey of central Syrian desert (2000-2003) – Part 1. Sandgrouse, 27(1): 9-23.

Murdoch D.A., Vos R., Abdallah A., Abdallah M.,  Andrews I., Al Assad A., Van Beusekom R., Hofland R., Roth T., Saveyn B., Serra G., Wells C. 2005. A winter survey of Syrian Wetlands. Final Report of the Syrian Wetland Expedition January-February 2004.Ornithological Society of the Middle East (OSME), BirdLife International, Wetlands International.55 pp.

Boehm C., Bowden C., El Bekkay M., Evans S., Hatypoglu T., Jiménez A.M., Jordan M., Kotrschal K., Lenten B, López V., José M., Madroño  A., Nagy S., Pegoraro K., Quevedo M., Rivera E., Serra G., Tavares J. 2005. International Northern Bald Ibis Geronticus eremia Action Plan. UNEP-AEWA, BirdLife International. 89 pp.

Serra G. and D. Williamson 2003. Management Plan of al talila Reserve 2004-2006.FAO report project GCP/SYR/009/ITA (available at FAO Representation in Damascus, Syria).

Serra G. 2003. Assessment of the Natural and Cultural Heritage of al talila Reserve. FAO report project GCP/SYR/009/ITA (available at FAO Representation in Damascus, Syria).

BowdenC.G.R., Serra G., Budieri A., Al Jbour S. 2002. Report on a visit by BLI in response to the recent discovery of breeding Northern Bald Ibis Geronticus eremita in the Palmyra region of Syria. Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), internal report.

Serra G. 2002. Advocating protection and future sustainable development of seasonal salt-lake sabkhat al moh (IBA site, BirdLife International 1994). FAO report project GCP/SYR/009/ITA prepared for the Syrian Ministry of Agriculture (available at FAO Representation in Damascus, Syria).

Serra G. 2002. Proposal for an action plan to protect wildlife of Palmyrean desertic steppe.FAO report project GCP/SYR/009/ITA prepared upon request of Syrian Ministry of Environment (available at FAO Representation in Damascus Syria).

Serra G., Melega L., Baccetti N. 2001. Piano di Azione Nazionale per il Gabbiano corso (Larusaudouinii). Quaderni di Conservazione della Natura, Ministero dell’Ambiente e Istituto Nazionale Fauna Selvatica (INFS) “Alessandro Ghigi”, pp. 29. [transl. = National Action Plan for the Audouin’s Gull (Larus audouinii) published by INFS (Italian National Institute for Wildlife Conservation) upon request of the Italian Ministry of Environment].

Popular science and education

English

Serra G. 2016. It wasn’t the war that killed the ibis. New Scientist, 3064.

Serra G. 2015. Over-grazing and desertification in the Syrian steppe are the root causes of war. The Ecologist.

Serra G. 2015. The Northern Bald Ibis is extinct from the Middle East – but we can’t blame it on IS. The Ecologist.

Serra G. 2015. Dear Carl, it’s time to rethink Homo ‘sapiens’. The Ecologist.

Serra G. 2012. “Mysteries surrounding the legendary and vanishing oriental bald ibis.” Mongabay.com

Serra G. 2012 “Surviving a rip current in Lalomano, Samoa”. USA’s National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website.

Serra G. 2005. Time running out for Syrian ibises. BirdLife’s WorldBirdwatch.27(4): 9.

Serra G. 2003. Discovery of Northern Bald Ibises in Syria. BirdLife’s World Birdwatch, 25(1): 10-13.

Serra G., Batello C., Williamson D. 2003. From Indifference to Awareness. FAO publication (available at FAO Hqs, Rome, Italy).47 pp.

Italian

Serra G. 2016. Salam è tornata. Parabola ecologica nella Siria pre-conflitto. Published by Exorma, Roma, Italia. 199 pp.

Serra G. 2012. Le isole del Pacifico, lo Sprep, l’adattamento al cambiamento climatico e le specie invasive. Greenreport.it

Serra G. 2012. Sopravvivere al paradiso. Le correnti maledette dei mari del sud.Blogger.com

Serra G. 2011. Richiami vivi, lettera aperta per Enrico Rossi sulle sevizie animali concesse in deroga. Altracitta.org

Serra G. 2011. Inquinamento dell’aria a Firenze: il punto della situazione. Greenreport.it

Serra G. 2010. Ibis eremita orientale, estinzione imminente. Greenreport.it

Serra G. 2010. Uno spiraglio di natura selvaggia. Greenreport.it

Serra G. 2007. Nido con vista 2007. Provincia di Firenze, home page.

Serra G. 2007. Identikit del Falco pellegrino Falco peregrinus. Provincia di Firenze, 29 pp.