Foto del docente

Sonia Silvestri

Senior assistant professor (fixed-term)

Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences

Academic discipline: GEO/04 Physical Geography and Geomorphology

Curriculum vitae

Current position and affiliations

Sonia Silvestri is senior researcher at the Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences of the University of Bologna (Italy). Moreover, she holds a position as Adjunct Associate Professor at Duke University, USA (Division of Earth & Ocean Sciences, Nicholas School of the Environment). She is also fellow of the Venice International University, Venice, Italy.

Education and professional experience

  • Laurea in Environmental Sciences, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy (1997)
  • PhD in Environmental System Modelling, University of Padova, Italy (1998-2001) – the research aimed at applying remote sensing to the study of salt marsh topography and morphology, with a focus on the distribution of halophytes on the marsh in relation to edaphic and biotic factors.
  • Post-Doc, Department of Hydraulic, Maritime, Geotechnical, and Environmental Engineering, University of Padova, Italy (2002) – the research mainly focused on geomorphic aspects related to the development of salt marsh vegetation in the Venice lagoon, Italy.
  • After the completion of her Post-Doctoral assistantship, Silvestri spent about 10 years working on applied research topics, as a consultant for academic and non-academic institutions, in collaboration with private companies as well as public authorities. Activities carried out during this period include: detection of illegal landfills using remote sensing; use of optical remote sensing for the delineation of surface peat deposits; study of the hydrology of the Venice Lagoon subsurface using airborne electromagnetics (AEM) sensors; calibration of a hydrodynamic model of the Venice lagoon using satellite thermal data; mapping seagrass species in the Venice Lagoon using optical satellite data. Between 2008 and 2011 Silvestri co-founded and managed a private company specialized in environmental monitoring, GIS data analysis, and remote sensing.
  • In 2011 Silvestri moved back to academic research, accepting a full-time position as a Research Scientist in the Division of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University (USA, 2011-2013). She then was a Visiting Assistant Professor, from 2013 to 2015, before being appointed Adjunct Assistant Professor in the same institution (2015).
  • In 2017 Silvestri was awarded a Marie Sklodowska Curie fellow from the European Commission for the Project CReScenDo (grant agreement No. 747809), which aimed at quantifying the extent and thickness of peatlands from the local to the regional scale, using remote sensing and geophysics (June 2017- May 2019). During this period she was hosted by the TESAF department, University of Padova.
  • Since November 2019 Silvestri holds a position as senior researcher (which corresponds to an Associate Professor tenure-track position) at the University of Bologna, BiGeA department.

Teaching experience

Since obtaining her PhD degree, Sonia Silvestri has been teaching several graduate and undergraduate courses, in Italy and elsewhere. Some recent courses are:

2020-present "Landuse Monitoring and Planning", University of Bologna, Sede di Ravenna. Graduate level.

2020-present Geomorphology and Earth Processes within the “Geologia e Litologia” course (“Geology and Lithology”), University of Bologna, Sede di Ravenna. Undergraduate level.

Fall 2019 “Principi di gestione del territorio” (“Environmental and landuse planning and management”), University of Bologna, Sede di Ravenna. Graduate level.

2014-2017 “Coastal Wetlands, Lagoons and Estuaries: Environmental Monitoring and Management”. Venice International University (Venice – Italy). Undergraduate level.

2014-2016 “Monitoring and Management of Coastal Wetlands, Lagoons and Estuaries”, Boston University Study Abroad Summer Program (Venice – Italy). Undergraduate level.

2014-2016 “Environmental monitoring of coastal morphology and water quality”, Summer Program “Environmental Management in a Changing World: Coping with Sea Level Rise”, Venice International University (Italy). Graduate level.

2014-2015 “Introduction to satellite remote sensing of coastal areas”. Duke Study Abroad - Venice International University (Venice – Italy). Undergraduate level.

2012-2013 “Introduction to Satellite Remote Sensing” - Nicholas School of the Environment and Civil and Environmental Engineering - Duke University. Undergraduate level.

2012 spring semester “Remote sensing of Coastal Environments” - Nicholas School of the Environment and Civil and Environmental Engineering - Duke University. Graduate level.

Between 2014 and 2017 Silvestri organized and managed a Summer Program called “Environmental Management in a Changing World: Coping with Sea Level Rise”, Venice International University, Venice (Italy).

Current and Recent Research Projects and Awards

  • PI of the project “CHANGED - CHAracteriziNG pEatlands from Drones” funded by the University of Padova within the programme STARS Grants, 1 June 2020 – 31 October 2022.
  • co-PI of the project “Coupled Ecological-Geomorphological Response of Coastal Wetlands to Environmental Change” funded by the National Science Foundation (USA), 15 July 2020 - 30 June 2023.
  • Silvestri was awarded a Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellowship from the European Commission for the Project CReScenDo, which aimed at quantifying the extent and thickness of peatlands from the local to the regional scale, using remote sensing and geophysics, to accurately define their importance in the global carbon cycle (June 2017- May 2019).
  • Leader of the team “DAG4Peat” selected for competing in the Indonesian Peat Prize, http://indonesianpeatprize.com/, 2016-2018.
  • Principal Investigator of a research project funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, “grant 2017-65823" from 16-03-2017 to 16-02-2018, and linked to the Indonesian Peat Prize for the use of Airborne Electromagnetic to detect the thickness and volume of peatlands.
  • Co-I for the Remote Sensing activities of the project "Combined use of remote sensing and in situ measurements for the calibration of transport and diffusion models in shallow coastal lagoons", University of Padova, 2014-2015 (Code CPDA133253/13).
  • Co-PI of the project "The Digital Landscape: New technologies to visualize ancient landscapes" Bass Connection, Duke University, 2014-2016.

Latest news

At the moment no news are available.