Stefano Allesina

Research Summary
I am a theoretical ecologist studying mostly ecological networks. I am interested in the dynamics of large ecological communities, models for network structure, and the response of ecological communities to extinctions. My laboratory develops mathematical, computational and statistical tools for the analysis of ecological systems.
Theoretical Ecology, Food Webs, Networks, Ecological, Community Ecology, Dynamical Systems
  • Università di Parma, Parma, Italy, PhD Ecology 02/2005
  • Università di Parma, Parma, Italy, Laurea Environmental Sciences 04/2001
Biosciences Graduate Program Association
Awards & Honors
  • 2012 - CAREER Award National Science Foundation
  • 2018 - BSD Distinguished Investigator University of Chicago
  1. Maynard DS, Miller ZR, Allesina S. Publisher Correction: Predicting coexistence in experimental ecological communities. Nat Ecol Evol. 2020 Feb; 4(2):281. View in: PubMed

  2. Maynard DS, Miller ZR, Allesina S. Predicting coexistence in experimental ecological communities. Nat Ecol Evol. 2020 01; 4(1):91-100. View in: PubMed

  3. Jovic K, Grilli J, Sterken MG, Snoek BL, Riksen JAG, Allesina S, Kammenga JE. Transcriptome resilience predicts thermotolerance in Caenorhabditis elegans. BMC Biol. 2019 12 10; 17(1):102. View in: PubMed

  4. Costa A, Martín González AM, Guizien K, Doglioli AM, Gómez JM, Petrenko AA, Allesina S. Ecological networks: Pursuing the shortest path, however narrow and crooked. Sci Rep. 2019 11 28; 9(1):17826. View in: PubMed

  5. Maynard DS, Serván CA, Capitán JA, Allesina S. Phenotypic variability promotes diversity and stability in competitive communities. Ecol Lett. 2019 Nov; 22(11):1776-1786. View in: PubMed

  6. Michalska-Smith MJ, Allesina S. Telling ecological networks apart by their structure: A computational challenge. PLoS Comput Biol. 2019 06; 15(6):e1007076. View in: PubMed

  7. Maynard DS, Wootton JT, Serván CA, Allesina S. Reconciling empirical interactions and species coexistence. Ecol Lett. 2019 Jun; 22(6):1028-1037. View in: PubMed

  8. Gibbs T, Grilli J, Rogers T, Allesina S. Effect of population abundances on the stability of large random ecosystems. Phys Rev E. 2018 Aug; 98(2-1):022410. View in: PubMed

  9. Serván CA, Capitán JA, Grilli J, Morrison KE, Allesina S. Coexistence of many species in random ecosystems. Nat Ecol Evol. 2018 08; 2(8):1237-1242. View in: PubMed

  10. Maynard DS, Serván CA, Allesina S. Network spandrels reflect ecological assembly. Ecol Lett. 2018 03; 21(3):324-334. View in: PubMed

  11. Jovic K, Sterken MG, Grilli J, Bevers RPJ, Rodriguez M, Riksen JAG, Allesina S, Kammenga JE, Snoek LB. Temporal dynamics of gene expression in heat-stressed Caenorhabditis elegans. PLoS One. 2017; 12(12):e0189445. View in: PubMed

  12. Michalska-Smith MJ, Sander EL, Pascual M, Allesina S. Understanding the role of parasites in food webs using the group model. J Anim Ecol. 2018 05; 87(3):790-800. View in: PubMed

  13. Barabás G, Michalska-Smith MJ, Allesina S. Self-regulation and the stability of large ecological networks. Nat Ecol Evol. 2017 Dec; 1(12):1870-1875. View in: PubMed

  14. Sander EL, Wootton JT, Allesina S. Ecological Network Inference From Long-Term Presence-Absence Data. Sci Rep. 2017 08 02; 7(1):7154. View in: PubMed

  15. Grilli J, Barabás G, Michalska-Smith MJ, Allesina S. Higher-order interactions stabilize dynamics in competitive network models. Nature. 2017 08 10; 548(7666):210-213. View in: PubMed

  16. Grilli J, Allesina S. Last name analysis of mobility, gender imbalance, and nepotism across academic systems. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 07 18; 114(29):7600-7605. View in: PubMed

  17. Michalska-Smith MJ, Allesina S. And, not or: Quality, quantity in scientific publishing. PLoS One. 2017; 12(6):e0178074. View in: PubMed

  18. Levine JM, Bascompte J, Adler PB, Allesina S. Beyond pairwise mechanisms of species coexistence in complex communities. Nature. 2017 05 31; 546(7656):56-64. View in: PubMed

  19. Grilli J, Adorisio M, Suweis S, Barabás G, Banavar JR, Allesina S, Maritan A. Feasibility and coexistence of large ecological communities. Nat Commun. 2017 02 24; 8. View in: PubMed

  20. Dee LE, Allesina S, Bonn A, Eklöf A, Gaines SD, Hines J, Jacob U, McDonald-Madden E, Possingham H, Schröter M, Thompson RM. Operationalizing Network Theory for Ecosystem Service Assessments. Trends Ecol Evol. 2017 02; 32(2):118-130. View in: PubMed

  21. Grilli J, Rogers T, Allesina S. Modularity and stability in ecological communities. Nat Commun. 2016 06 23; 7:12031. View in: PubMed

  22. Barabás G, J Michalska-Smith M, Allesina S. The Effect of Intra- and Interspecific Competition on Coexistence in Multispecies Communities. Am Nat. 2016 07; 188(1):E1-E12. View in: PubMed

  23. McCoy SJ, Allesina S, Pfister CA. Ocean acidification affects competition for space: projections of community structure using cellular automata. Proc Biol Sci. 2016 Mar 16; 283(1826):20152561. View in: PubMed

  24. Suweis S, Grilli J, Banavar JR, Allesina S, Maritan A. Effect of localization on the stability of mutualistic ecological networks. Nat Commun. 2015 Dec 17; 6:10179. View in: PubMed

  25. Barabás G, Allesina S. Predicting global community properties from uncertain estimates of interaction strengths. J R Soc Interface. 2015 Aug 06; 12(109):20150218. View in: PubMed

  26. Allesina S, Grilli J, Barabás G, Tang S, Aljadeff J, Maritan A. Predicting the stability of large structured food webs. Nat Commun. 2015 Jul 22; 6:7842. View in: PubMed

  27. Sander EL, Wootton JT, Allesina S. What Can Interaction Webs Tell Us About Species Roles? PLoS Comput Biol. 2015 Jul; 11(7):e1004330. View in: PubMed

  28. Borrelli JJ, Allesina S, Amarasekare P, Arditi R, Chase I, Damuth J, Holt RD, Logofet DO, Novak M, Rohr RP, Rossberg AG, Spencer M, Tran JK, Ginzburg LR. Selection on stability across ecological scales. Trends Ecol Evol. 2015 Jul; 30(7):417-25. View in: PubMed

  29. Grilli J, Barabás G, Allesina S. Metapopulation persistence in random fragmented landscapes. PLoS Comput Biol. 2015 May; 11(5):e1004251. View in: PubMed

  30. Weinberger CJ, Evans JA, Allesina S. Ten simple (empirical) rules for writing science. PLoS Comput Biol. 2015 Apr; 11(4):e1004205. View in: PubMed

  31. Smith MJ, Sander E, Barabás G, Allesina S. Stability and feedback levels in food web models. Ecol Lett. 2015 Jun; 18(6):593-5. View in: PubMed

  32. Smith MJ, Weinberger C, Bruna EM, Allesina S. The scientific impact of nations: journal placement and citation performance. PLoS One. 2014; 9(10):e109195. View in: PubMed

  33. Tang S, Pawar S, Allesina S. Correlation between interaction strengths drives stability in large ecological networks. Ecol Lett. 2014 Sep; 17(9):1094-100. View in: PubMed

  34. Lortie CJ, Allesina S, Aarssen L, Grod O, Budden AE. With great power comes great responsibility: the importance of rejection, power, and editors in the practice of scientific publishing. PLoS One. 2013; 8(12):e85382. View in: PubMed

  35. Eklöf A, Jacob U, Kopp J, Bosch J, Castro-Urgal R, Chacoff NP, Dalsgaard B, de Sassi C, Galetti M, Guimarães PR, Lomáscolo SB, Martín González AM, Pizo MA, Rader R, Rodrigo A, Tylianakis JM, Vázquez DP, Allesina S. The dimensionality of ecological networks. Ecol Lett. 2013 May; 16(5):577-83. View in: PubMed

  36. Staniczenko PP, Kopp JC, Allesina S. The ghost of nestedness in ecological networks. Nat Commun. 2013; 4:1391. View in: PubMed

  37. Acuna DE, Allesina S, Kording KP. Future impact: Predicting scientific success. Nature. 2012 Sep 13; 489(7415):201-2. View in: PubMed

  38. Allesina S. Ecology: The more the merrier. Nature. 2012 Jul 11; 487(7406):175-6. View in: PubMed

  39. Melián CJ, Alonso D, Allesina S, Condit RS, Etienne RS. Does sex speed up evolutionary rate and increase biodiversity? PLoS Comput Biol. 2012; 8(3):e1002414. View in: PubMed

  40. Allesina S, Tang S. Stability criteria for complex ecosystems. Nature. 2012 Feb 19; 483(7388):205-8. View in: PubMed

  41. Baskerville EB, Dobson AP, Bedford T, Allesina S, Anderson TM, Pascual M. Spatial guilds in the Serengeti food web revealed by a Bayesian group model. PLoS Comput Biol. 2011 Dec; 7(12):e1002321. View in: PubMed

  42. Eklöf A, Helmus MR, Moore M, Allesina S. Relevance of evolutionary history for food web structure. Proc Biol Sci. 2012 Apr 22; 279(1733):1588-96. View in: PubMed

  43. Allesina S. Measuring nepotism through shared last names: the case of Italian Academia. PLoS One. 2011; 6(8):e21160. View in: PubMed

  44. Rojas-Echenique J, Allesina S. Interaction rules affect species coexistence in intransitive networks. Ecology. 2011 May; 92(5):1174-80. View in: PubMed

  45. Allesina S, Levine JM. A competitive network theory of species diversity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Apr 05; 108(14):5638-42. View in: PubMed

  46. Zook AE, Eklof A, Jacob U, Allesina S. Food webs: ordering species according to body size yields high degree of intervality. J Theor Biol. 2011 Feb 21; 271(1):106-13. View in: PubMed

  47. Parker JN, Lortie C, Allesina S. Characterizing a scientific elite: the social characteristics of the most highly cited scientists in environmental science and ecology. Scientometrics. 2010 Oct; 85(1):129-143. View in: PubMed

  48. Melián CJ, Alonso D, Vázquez DP, Regetz J, Allesina S. Frequency-dependent selection predicts patterns of radiations and biodiversity. PLoS Comput Biol. 2010 Aug 26; 6(8). View in: PubMed

  49. Allesina S. Predicting trophic relations in ecological networks: a test of the Allometric Diet Breadth Model. J Theor Biol. 2011 Jun 21; 279(1):161-8. View in: PubMed

  50. Allesina S, Pascual M. Googling food webs: can an eigenvector measure species' importance for coextinctions? PLoS Comput Biol. 2009 Sep; 5(9):e1000494. View in: PubMed

  51. Allesina S, Pascual M. Food web models: a plea for groups. Ecol Lett. 2009 Jul; 12(7):652-62. View in: PubMed

  52. Dobson A, Allesina S, Lafferty K, Pascual M. The assembly, collapse and restoration of food webs. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2009 Jun 27; 364(1524):1803-6. View in: PubMed

  53. Bodini A, Bellingeri M, Allesina S, Bondavalli C. Using food web dominator trees to catch secondary extinctions in action. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2009 Jun 27; 364(1524):1725-31. View in: PubMed

  54. Allesina S, Bodini A, Pascual M. Functional links and robustness in food webs. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2009 Jun 27; 364(1524):1701-9. View in: PubMed

  55. Lafferty KD, Allesina S, Arim M, Briggs CJ, De Leo G, Dobson AP, Dunne JA, Johnson PT, Kuris AM, Marcogliese DJ, Martinez ND, Memmott J, Marquet PA, McLaughlin JP, Mordecai EA, Pascual M, Poulin R, Thieltges DW. Parasites in food webs: the ultimate missing links. Ecol Lett. 2008 Jun; 11(6):533-46. View in: PubMed

  56. Allesina S, Alonso D, Pascual M. A general model for food web structure. Science. 2008 May 02; 320(5876):658-61. View in: PubMed

  57. Peacor SD, Allesina S, Riolo RL, Pascual M. Phenotypic plasticity opposes species invasions by altering fitness surface. PLoS Biol. 2006 Oct; 4(11):e372. View in: PubMed

  58. Allesina S, Bodini A. Who dominates whom in the ecosystem? Energy flow bottlenecks and cascading extinctions. J Theor Biol. 2004 Oct 07; 230(3):351-8. View in: PubMed

  59. Allesina S, Ulanowicz RE. Cycling in ecological networks: Finn's index revisited. Comput Biol Chem. 2004 Jul; 28(3):227-33. View in: PubMed