Dr Francesco Pelizza

Principal Research Officer, Wetland Landscapes & Processes

About me

Originally from Parma, Italy, my passion for wildlife and the environment began at a young age during hikes in the Alps with my parents. This passion was further fuelled by my volunteer work at a Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in the Italian Apennines.

After completing a BSc in Biological Sciences, I pursued an MSc in Global Change Ecology at the University of Trieste. During my MSc, I started to be interested in inland waters and decided to move to Imperial College London, thanks to an Erasmus Scholarship, to investigate the global biogeography of saline lakes.

Subsequently, I remained in England to pursue a PhD at the University of Oxford, under the inspiring supervision of Prof Kathy Willis, focusing on the multiple benefits of Engineered Log Jams deployed as part of a Natural Flood Management project. Following the completion of my PhD, I joined WWT in September 2023.

My role

I serve as a Senior Research Officer in the Wetland Landscapes and Processes Team in the Conservation Evidence Department at WWT. My role primarily revolves around monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of river restoration, Natural Flood Management, and SUDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems) interventions implemented in two DEFRA-funded projects, located in the London Borough of Richmond and in Slough. These projects, backed by DEFRA as part of the Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme (FCRIP), are designed to create resilient catchments and communities in the face of floods and climate change using a range of Nature-Based Solutions. My work involves assessing the extent to which these interventions meet the projects’ aims and objectives in terms of hydrological and ecological improvements.

Experience and interests

  • Ecological Monitoring
  • Data analysis and visualization (using R software for statistical computing)
  • Coding in R and Python
  • Hydrological and hydraulic modelling (using SWAT and HEC-RAS models)
  • Habitat-simulation modelling (SPLASH)
  • Hydrological/meteorological monitoring and analysis


PhD thesis (submitted for publication): Hydraulic, hydrological and ecological effects of Natural Flood Management: the case study of the Engineered Log Jam. Oxford Long-Term Ecology Lab, Department of Biology, University of Oxford.

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