Romina is currently working with the EU Horizon2020 project AQUACROSS on managing biodiversity and ecosystem services in freshwater, coastal and marine systems. At the SRC, she works with Maja Schlüter and focuses on the application of resilience principles to analyse case studies and improve ecosystem-based management. This primarily involves the stepwise formalisation of social-ecological interactions and specification of characteristic system patterns, such as regime shifts and bundles of ecosystem services, on multiple levels to investigate them through computational models.
Romina's research interests are in a variety of modelling tools, investigating the behaviour of ecosystems that link to human well-being where it is becoming increasingly important to understand the human factor affecting ecosystems. Towards this aim, Romina develops bioeconomic and agent-based models and simulates decision-making in the human-environmental interface. Further, she engages in multiple participatory stakeholder activities in order to link generic models closer to empirical grounds.
Romina studied computer science and biology and holds a PhD in biology from the University in Cologne, Germany, supervised by Michael Bonkowski and Anja Linstädter. The topic of her PhD was pastoral livelihood security and rangeland management in drylands using ecological-economic modelling approaches. The project was conducted in close collaboration with the Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig in the Department of Ecological Modelling, where most of the work was carried out, and supervised by Karin Frank and Birgit Müller.
Beyond simulating complex features from social-ecological systems, Romina is interested in disentangling and translating these complexities for transdisciplinary activities or environmental education purposes (e.g. by development of serious games). Along with her PhD, Romina developed a board game on pastoral rangeland management (“NomadSed”) and was involved in analysing and improving an online game on sustainable land management (“LandYous”).
Awards and achievements:
2016 - Journal / article
Livestock grazing in drylands supports pastoral livelihoods but is facing multiple changes including shocks such as severe droughts. Herdsmen specifically cite drought events as a reason for the abandonment of their transhumance practices. The purpose of this study is to assess the relevance of drought as a driving force for losses of livelihood security leading to a specific systemic change – households abandoning transhumant...
2015 - Journal / article
Land is a limited resource providing various services. Decisions on land use shape the distribution of these life support functions and thus require understanding of complex feedbacks between decisions on land use and human resource appropriation. Due to multiple nonlinear feedbacks between management, productivity, environmental quality, and human well-being, complexity is an inherent property of land systems. We present an...
2015 - Journal / article
Modeling social-ecological interactions between humans and ecosystems to analyze their implications for sustainable management of social-ecological systems (SES) has multiple challenges. When integrating social and ecological dynamics, which are often studied separately, one has to deal with different modeling paradigms, levels of analysis, temporal and spatial scales, and data availabilities in the social and ecological domai...