This textbook provides basic quantitative models allowing researchers and decision-makers to a) assess the viability of threatened populations and evaluate the success of species reintroductions, b) estimate invasion abilities of alien species, c) evaluate the persistence of metapopulations subjected to habitat destruction and fragmentation, d) analyse policies and strategies for the sustainable harvesting of biological resources, and e) assess the course of human and nonhuman diseases and the possible containment measures.
Air and water pollution, overexploitation of renewable resources (e.g. marine fish stocks and forests), massive land-use change together with climate change impact the Earth's biodiversity and impair the functioning of ecosystems. Globalization increases the risk of the diffusion of alien species and new pathogens.
A panoply of numerical problems mainly based on real data from the ecological literature enables the reader to practice the presented modelling tools.
Marino Gatto is Professor emeritus, Politecnico di Milano, Italy. His research focuses on ecological modelling, fish population dynamics and management, and disease and parasite ecology. He was President of the Italian Society of Ecology from 2003 to 2006, and is a member of Istituto Lombardo Accademia di Scienze e Lettere and Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti.
Renato Casagrandi is a Professor of Ecology at the Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering, Politecnico di Milano. His research is devoted to designing and analysing dynamical models for spatiotemporal processes in ecology and epidemiology. Since 2018, he is Chair of the B.Sc. and M.Sc. Environmental Engineering programs at Politecnico di Milano.