Conservation Biology

About us


My research focuses on spatial predictive models for animal movements and distributions. I combine my strong scientific interest in animal ecology, particularly birds, with my computational and statistical background to develop new methodological approaches. I am also an advocate of open-source software and I am committed to improving transparency and reproducibility in research.

Among other things, I have developed SDMtune, an R package to tune and evaluate species distribution models. SDMtune provides a user-friendly framework to train and evaluate species distribution models and includes functions for data-driven variable selection and hyperparameter tuning, all supported by real-time interactive charts

Google scholar

GitHub / GitHub Consbiol

Publication list

Vignali, S., Lörcher, F., Hegglin, D., Arlettaz, R., & Braunisch, V. (2022). A predictive flight-altitude model for avoiding future conflicts between an emblematic raptor and wind energy development in the Swiss Alps. Royal Society Open Science, 9: 211041.

Vignali, S., Lörcher, F., Hegglin, D., Arlettaz, R., & Braunisch, V. (2021). Modelling the habitat selection of the bearded vulture to predict areas of potential conflict with wind energy development in the Swiss Alps. Global Ecology and Conservation, 25: e01405.

Vignali, S., Barras, A. G., Arlettaz, R., & Braunisch, V. (2020). SDMtune: An R package to tune and evaluate species distribution models. Ecology and Evolution, 10: 11488–11506.

Arlettaz R, Chapron G, Kéry M, Klaus E, Mettaz S, Roder S, Vignali S, Zimmermann F and Braunisch V (2021). Poaching Threatens the Establishment of a Lynx Population, Highlighting the Need for a Centralized Judiciary Approach. Frontiers in Conservation Sciencei. 2: 665000.

Braunisch, V., Vignali, S., Oggier, P.‐A. and Arlettaz, R. (2021), Present in the western European Alps but absent in the eastern part: Can habitat availability explain the differences in red‐billed chough occurrence? Journal of Avian Biology, 52: e02682.

Barras a. G., Marti, S., Ettlin, S., Vignali, S., Resano-Mayor, J., Braunisch, V., & Arlettaz, R. (2020). The importance of seasonal environmental factors in the foraging habitat selection of Alpine Ring Ouzels Turdus torquatus alpestris. Ibis, 162: 505–519.

Roder, S., Biollaz, F., Mettanz, S., Zimmermann, F., Manz, R., Kéry, M., Vignali, S., Fumagalli, L., Arlettaz, R., & Braunisch, V. (2020). Deer density drives habitat use of establishing wolves in the Western European Alps. Journal of Applied Ecology, 57: 995–1008.

Resano-Mayor, J., Korner-Nievergelt, F., Vignali, S., Horrenberger, N., Barras, A. G., Braunisch, V., Pernollet, C., & Arlettaz, R. (2019). Snow cover phenology is the main driver of foraging habitat selection for a high-alpine passerine during breeding: implications for species persistence in the face of climate change. Biodiversersity and Conservation, 28: 2669–2685.


Windkraftanlagen an steilen Südhängen sind gefährlich für Bartgeier
Article in der Blick, 09.02.2022 (Link)

Other publications

Vignali, S. 2021. Predicting areas of potential conflicts between bearded vultures (Gypaetus barbatus) and wind turbines in the Swiss Alps. PhD Thesis. University of Bern.

Giovacchini, P., Falchi, V., Vignali, S., Radi, g., Passalacqua, L., Corsi, F., Porciani, M., & Farsi, F. (2015). Atlante degli Anfibi della provincial di Grosseto. Quaderni delle Aree Protette n. 6, Provincia di Grosseto -UP Aree Protette e Biodiversità. Soluzioni per la Stampa, Grosseto, 113 pagine.

Ceccolini, G., Cenerini, A., Baini, M., Falchi, V., Passalacqua, L., & Vignali, S. (2012). Reintroduzione del nibbio reale Milvus milvus in Toscana meridionale. II CONVEGNO ITALIANO RAPACI DIURNI E NOTTURNI, 11.