Rachele Nieri

Assistant professor

Department of Mathematics

Via Sommarive, 14 - 38123 Povo
tel. 0461 281582
rachele.nieri[at]unitn [dot] it

2017    PhD in Ethology and Ecology, University of Florence (Italy)

  • thesis title “Insect vibrational communication: description, decoding, and manipulation”.
  • advisors: Prof. Rita Cervo and Dr Valerio Mazzoni.

2012    Master degree in Biology (curriculum in Behavioral Biology), University of Florence (Italy), Honors summa cum laude.

  • thesis title “Geographical patterns of integration of a social parasite into a host colony”;
  • advisors: Prof Rita Cervo and Dr Alessandro Cini.

2010   Bachelor degree in Biological Sciences, University of Florence (Italy), Honors summa cum laude.

  • thesis title “Local adaptation in the social parasite wasp Polistes sulcifer and in its host”;
  • advisors: Prof Rita Cervo and Dr Alessandro Cini.
Academic career and teaching activities

Academic career

2021                Research fellowship (Post-doc) Department of Civil, Environmental, and Mechanical Engineering, Università di Trento, supervisor Prof. Pugno.

2018-2020       Postdoctoral Research Associate North Willamette Research and Extension Center, Department of Horticulture, Oregon State University, supervisors Prof. Wiman, Prof. Walton.

2019                Visiting scientist University of Missouri, Division of Biological Sciences, supervisor Prof Rex Cocroft.

2017-2018       Research fellowship (Post-doc) Center for Agriculture Food Environment (C3A), Università di Trento, supervisor Prof. Anfora. 

2014                Visiting scientist United States Department of Agriculture, San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center (California, USA), supervisor Dr Krugner.


15/06/2023 - 2034   ASN (National Scientific Qualification) as Associate Professor (II fascia) in the Italian higher education system, for the disciplinary field of 07/D1 -Plant pathology and entomology (patologia vegetale e entomologia).

Teaching experience

2022 – 23        Assistant professor

  • PhD in Agrifood and Environmental sciences, C3A, Università di Trento (12 hours)
  • Master in Agrifood innovation management, C3A, Università di Trento (25 hours)
  • Master in Mathematics, curriculum in Mathematics and Statistics for Life and Social Sciences, Università di Trento (12 hours)

2021                Invited lecturer, “Insect drummers, vibrations applicability in horticulture” (2 hours), Master in Agrifood innovation management, C3A, Università di Trento

2018 - 20         Invited lecturer, “Insect chemical communication” and “Insect acoustic communication” (8 hours), Oregon State University (OR, USA)

2018 - 20         Teaching Assistant, Course Plagues, Pests, and Politics (ENT_300), Oregon State University (OR, USA)

2016 - 17        Instructor and Teaching Assistant

  • Course Agricultural and Forest Entomology 6 CP, Bachelor in Agricultural and Agro-environmental Sciences, Free University of Bolzano
  • Course Applied Entomology in Horticulture crops 3CP, Master in Horticultural Science, Free University of Bolzano

2015                Invited lecturer, “Vibrational communication in insects and vibrational mating disruption” (2 hours), Master in Viticulture and Oenology, Fondazione Edmund Mach. 

Research interests

My research activity is addressed to the study of innovative pest control strategies based on the manipulation of insect behavior. In particular, I investigate the ethology of insects with a specific focus on biotremology, a recently recognized scientific field that studies animal vibrational communication. 

  • Biotremology, the study of vibrational communication
  • Insect behavior
  • Pest management strategies
  • Vibration analysis
  • Effect of mechanical stimuli on living organisms
Awards and honours


2018           Professional Development Award by the OSU Postdoctoral Association ($1,000)

2012           PhD scholarship FIRS>T International PhD School granted by the Edmund Mach Foundation, project “Mating Disruption with Vibrational Signals - Study of the applicability to different pests of the vineyard”, supervisors: Dr. Valerio Mazzoni and Prof. Gianfranco Anfora (€80,000)

2013           1st award FameLab Trento, national competition in science communication (€500)

2013           1st award Researcher Open Mic, Trento, local competition in science communication



Travel awards

2017           by SIE (Italian Society of Ethology) for attendance at the XXVII Congress SIE

2016           by AISASP (Italian section of the International Union for the Study of Social Insects) for attendance at the Euro IUSSI 2016 (Meeting of the European sections)

2015           by IRSAE (International Research School in Applied Ecology) for attendance at the Entomology Congress 2015, organized by the "German Society for General and Applied Entomology"

2012          by SIE (Italian Society of Ethology) for attendance at the XXV Congress SIE

2012          by AISASP (Italian section of the International Union for the Study of Social Insects) for attendance at the 2ndAISASP Student Meeting

Conferences and lectures

Invited talks/chairmen/convener

2022         Invited speaker, R. Nieri. Talk: “A case study of vibrational pest control for fruit growers (Halyomorpha halis)”, BIOFRUITNET, 2nd online seminar.

                 Chairmen 3rd Biotremology Conference (Piran, 19-22 Sep. 2022), session “Behavior and social insects”.

2021         Invited speaker, R. Nieri. Talk: “Comunicazione vibrazionale: cosa è e come può esserci utile”, Incontri di etologia, ecologia, evoluzione, online.

2020         Symposium organizer, Behavior manipulation. Entomological Society of America Pacific Branch meeting. Spokane (Washington, USA). (cancelled due to COVID)

2019         Symposium organizer, 8th Annual Postdoc Research Symposium (Oregon, USA).


International and national congress presentations

Only talks given as primary presenter are listed.

2023         Nieri R., Berardo A., Akassou I., Zaffaroni-Caorsi V., Anfora G., Pugno N.M. & Mazzoni V. “Vibrational mating disruption against insect pests: five years of experimentation in the vineyard”, 29th International Congress on Sound and Vibration, Prague, Czech Republic.

2022         R. Nieri, V. Zaffaroni Caorsi, N. Pugno, V. Mazzoni. Talk: “Not just mating: The unexpected side-effects of the disturbance noise on the flight activity and oviposition behavior of leafhoppers”, 3rd International Conference on Biotremology, Piran, Slovenia

                   R. Nieri, A. berardo, V. Zaffaroni Caorsi, N. Pugno, G. Anfora, V. Veronelli, V. Mazzoni. Talk: “Vibrational Mating Disruption: potentiality and actuality of applied biotremology in the vineyard”, Plant BioProTech Symposium, 28-30 June 2022, Reims, France.

2021         R. Nieri, A. Cini, M.V. Rossi Stacconi, I. Pepiciello, N.M. Pugno, V. Mazzoni, R. Cervo. Talk: “Biotremology of social wasps: A neglected communication channel”, EU-IUSSI Symposium Diversity, plasticity and evolution of communication in insect societies, Online.

                   R. Nieri, G. Anfora, V. Mazzoni, MV Rossi Stacconi. Talk: “Semiochemicals, semiophysicals and their integration for the development of innovative multi-modal systems for agricultural pests’ monitoring and control.”, Ecoacoustics Congress, Online.

2019         R. Nieri, HC Cromwell, V. Walton, MV Rossi Stacconi and N. Wiman.Talk: “Behavioral manipulation of Drosophila suzukii exposed to different oviposition substrates.”, ESA Pacific Branch Meeting, San Diego, California (USA).

                  R. Nieri, DT Dalton, JZ Buser, S. Nizich, N. Wiman and V. Walton. Talk: “The vibrational mating duet and the potential for a vibrational pest management strategy of treehopper pests.”, ESA Pacific Branch Meeting, San Diego, California (USA).

2018         R. Nieri, MV. Rossi Stacconi, N. Wiman and V. Walton. Talk: “Behavioral manipulation of Drosophila suzukii: immediate and longterm effects of different oviposition substrates exposure”, ESA, ESC and ESBC Joint Annual Meeting, Vancouver (Canada), 

                   R. Nieri, I. Pepiciello, A Cini, V Mazzoni and R Cervo. Talk: “Adult-larvae vibrational communication in paper wasps: the role of abdominal wagging in Polistes dominula” 2nd International Symposium on Biotremology, Riva del Garda (Italy).

2017         R. Nieri and V. Mazzoni. Talk: “Open-field vibrational mating disruption: the effect on leafhopper pests and thevineyard ecosystem”, Future IPM 3.0, Riva del Garda (Italy).

                   R. Nieri and V. Mazzoni. Talk: “Open-field vibrational mating disruption: The effect on leafhopper pests and vineyard ecosystem”, 16th ISV international meeting, Rauischholzhausen (Germany).

                 R. Nieri, V. Mazzoni, S.D. Gordon and R. Krugner. Talk: “Mimicking the female to cheat another male: the rivalrystrategy of a leafhopper”, 27th SIE Congress, Calci, Italy.

2016         R. Nieri and V. Mazzoni. Talk: “The role of substrate-borne vibrations in pair formation and mating disruption of theleafhopper Empoasca vitis Göthe”, 1st International Symposium on Biotremology, S. Michele all’Adige (Italy).

2015         R. Nieri and V. Mazzoni. Talk: “Il ruolo dei segnali vibrazionali nel comportamento riproduttivo di Empoasca vitis (Göthe)”, 26th SIE Congress, Parma, Italy.