The Michele Panuccio Memorial Grant provides financial support for field research on raptor migration and conservation in the European region by young researchers (no more than 35 years old). The annual grant will be up to €1,500. The Fund was established by his parents in 2021 in memory of the Italian ornithologist and ecologist Michele Panuccio (1976-2019).
Michele Panuccio was a versatile and complete field naturalist, but, above all, an ornithologist. He devoted most of his life to the study of raptor migration, starting as a volunteer at the Strait of Messina in 1997. In subsequent years he took a leading role in various monitoring projects, especially on islands along the Italian-Tunisian flyway. He completed his doctorate on trans-Mediterranean raptor migration at the University of Pavia in 2012. Thanks to his contagious passion, he involved many young ornithologists in studies from the Calabrian Apennines in Italy to Greece and Turkey. He collaborated on field studies in Georgia, Armenia, Iran, and Thailand. His rigorous and exhaustive observations were meticulously analyzed and published in dozens of scientific papers.
Michele will be remembered for the discovery of the migration strategy of the Greek Short-toed Snake Eagles, which avoid crossing the Aegean Sea by concentrating on the slopes of Mount Olympus en route to the Bosphorus. This strategy is like that followed by Italian conspecifics, which avoid the Channel of Sicily by crossing the Mediterranean at the Strait of Gibraltar. In his final years, using both direct visual observation and radar monitoring, he established a standardized monitoring program at the Strait of Messina – one of the most important European migration bottlenecks.
The Panuccio grant seeks to help advance fields that Michele tirelessly worked on. The grant will support research into:
• raptor behavior, such as differential migration between age and sex classes, the effect of weather and atmospheric currents on migration, social interactions, and orientation and navigation strategies, with a special focus on how raptors overcome large ecological barrier such as the Mediterranean Sea.
• raptor conservation, for which Michele developed a particular interest as park ranger at the Decima-Malafede Nature Reserve (Rome), where he learned the importance of natural protected areas management and monitoring for the conservation of local raptors.
• raptor monitoring, which has been a long-standing interest of Michele, and to which he devoted much of his final years at the Strait of Messina.
To apply, applicants should submit the documents listed below. Applications should be submitted in English, but translation or editorial assistance is available to applicants whose first language is Spanish, Portuguese, or French:
AMOUNT: €1,500 + waived page charges (winner must be the first author and the paper must reflect what the grant was for)
Number of grants issued per year: 1
DEADLINE June 30th