Donatella Spano is Full Professor and Scientific Coordinator of the PhD program in Agrometeorology and Ecophysiology of Agricultural and Forestry Ecosystems at University of Sassari.
She was Regional Minister for the Protection of the Environment (Sardinia Region Government) from march 2014 to march 2019.
She is a Senior Member of the Strategic Council of the Euro Mediterranean Centre on Climate Change (CMCC). She is a Founding Member of the Italian Society for Climate Sciences (SISC) and was elected President with a mandate for the 2015-2016 period.
She graduated in Agricultural Sciences at the University of Sassari, where she also followed a three year Post Doctoral program specializing in Biometeorology.
During the period 2009 – 2014 she has served as Pro-Rector for Research at the University of Sassari. She has also served as a Member of the Research Commission of the Conference of Italian Universities Rectors (CRUI), and a Member of the Work Group on the Internal Evaluation of Universities.
During the period 2007 – 20014 she has served as Deputy Director of the Impacts on Agriculture, Forest, and Natural Ecosystems (IAFENT) Division at the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC).
Prof. Spano is also a member of the Coordination Committee of the PhD School in Global Science and Policy (ChangeS), a consortium of three Italian universities (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, University of Salento and University of Sassari).
She is responsible for the scientific cooperation agreement with University of California-Davis, where she conducts research activities since 1993.
Prof. Spano is Member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), International Society for Biometeorology (ISB), International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS), Italian Society for Horticultural Science (SOI), and Italian Society for Agrometeorology (AIAM). She is also an active Member of the ISB Study Group on measuring fluxes of trace gases.
Since 2006 she is coordinating the Agrometeorology and Ecophysiology Laboratory at University of Sassari, leading a scientific team of 25 staff including research scientists, post-docs, and PhD students. She is involved in challenging and cutting-edge biometeorological research, particularly in the development of micrometeorolgical methodology for assessing energy and mass exchange between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere (Surface Renewal).
She was a pioneer in the advance of phenolological models contributing in the assessment of chill species requirement and temperature-based model for degree-days calculations.
Prof. Spano is involved in European and international research activities on the assessment of impact of climate change on crop production and climate change manipulation experiment in the Mediterranean environment. Prof. Spano is also leading several research activities on modelling fire behaviour (danger and propagation). She served as expert and consultant to the World Bank, Government of California, European Environment Agency, and Italian Civil Protection. Prof. Spano has chaired over 40 doctoral and master theses.
In 2012 she has been awarded the medal of the University of Sassari for best scientific production. In 2001 she was co-recipient of the “Best Practice Paper” award of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Prof. Spano is actively involved in several EU projects aiming at the assessment of climate change adaptation, identification of sustainable farming strategies, setting up an integrated system for the quantification of net CO2 exchanges and evaluation of mitigation strategies at the urban and territorial levels, as well as the setup of methodologies and support systems for the evaluation of fire risk in extreme meteorological conditions.
Prof. Spano has published in several international and national journals and books. She is Member of the Editorial Board of the Agricultural and Forest Meteorology Journal and Member of the Editorial Board of the Italian Journal of Agrometeorology. She is also a peer reviewer for the Agricultural and Forest Meteorology Journal, International Journal of Biometeorology, Tree Physiology, Journal of Geophysical Research, Acta Horticulturae, Italian Journal of Agronomy.
- A height-wood-seed axis which is preserved across climatic regions explains tree dominance in European forest communities
- Assessment of irrigated agriculture vulnerability under climate change in Southern Italy
- Environmental filtering drives community specific leaf area in Spanish forests and predicts relevant changes under future climatic conditions
- Contrasting effects of nitrogen addition on soil respiration in two Mediterranean ecosystems
- Assessing Climate Change Impacts on Wildfire Exposure in Mediterranean Areas
- Specific leaf area and hydraulic traits explain niche segregation along an aridity gradient in Mediterranean woody species
- Methods for biomass stock estimation in Mediterranean maquis systems
- Predicting wildfire spread and behaviour in Mediterranean landscapes
- Using energy balance data for assessing evapotranspiration and crop coefficients in a Mediterranean vineyard
- Evaluating alternative fuel treatment strategies to reduce wildfire losses in a Mediterranean area