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Bruno Esattore

Bruno Esattore
I am a postdoctoral researcher with a background in animal behavior, and a particular focus on cervids. I have worked on several species of cervids, on topics spacing between behavior and ecology and including social interactions, animal personality, physiology, animal welfare, and management of wild populations.


My postdoc research focuses on the characterization of moose personality based on space use and activity data, and how personality influences an individual chances to survive natural predators and human harvest, with the final goal of applying personality to forestry and moose management.


Throughout my research career, I have been involved in studies on different species of cervids (red deer, roe deer, fallow deer, sika deer), on topics including personality, agonistic and stress behaviour, prey-predator interactions, and animal welfare.

I earned my Ph.D in 2021 from the Czech University of Life Sciences of Prague (Czeche Republic), in collaboration with the Institute of Animal Science of Prague. During this time, I mainly focused on agonistic and socio-positive interactions in a captive herd of red deer males, and their effects on testosterone and cortisol. Our main findings included application of both the “Social Buffering hypothesis” and the “Challenge hypothesis” to red deer, and showed that association with non-hostile companions had a stronger effect on hormonal concentrations (especially cortisol) than challenges from hostile animals. We also proved the occurrence of inter-individual differences in interaction-proneness among males and their persistence in time and across contexts, which led to the first investigation of personality in adult red deer males.

At the same time, I studied the antipredator strategies of fallow deer to avoid wolf predation in a coastal Mediterranean area, confirming the temporal avoidance as main strategy and the possibility to recur to increased vigilance; this would be tuned according to different factors, including the perceived risk and period of the year.

Selected publications

Bartoš L., Esattore B., Kotrba R., Pluháček J., Ceacero F., Komárková M., Dušek A., Bartošová J., 2023, The effects of challenge or social buffering on cortisol, testosterone, and antler growth in captive red deer (Cervus elaphus) males, Scientific Reports, 13(1), 21856.

Esattore B., Buczek M., Dušek A., Kotrba R., Pluháček J., Ceacero F., Komárková M., Bartošová J., Radwan J., Bartoš L., 2023, Ivermectin decreases parasite load, testosterone, and potentially antler length in a group of captive red deer males (Cervus elaphus), Research in Veterinary Science, 105095,

Esattore B., Rossi A.C., Bazzoni F., Pacini G., Oliveira R., Riggio C., Ferretti F., Same place, different time, head up: multiple antipredator responses to a recolonising apex predator, 2022, Current Zoology,

Cherin M., Breda M., Esattore B., Hart V., Turek J., Porciello F., Angeli G., Holpin S., Iurino D.A., A Pleistocene Fight Club revealed by the palaeobiological study of the Dama–like deer record from Pantalla (Italy), 2022, Scientific Reports, DOI: 10.1038/s41598–022–18091–1

Esattore B.*, Saggiomo L.*, Sensi M., Francia V., Cherin M., Tell me what you eat and I’ll tell you… where you live: an updated review of the worldwide distribution and foraging ecology of the fallow deer (Dama dama), 2022, Mammalian Biology, 1–18.–022–00250–6

Saggiomo L., Bar V., Esattore B., The fox who cried wolf: A keywords and literature trend analysis on the phenomenon of mesopredator release, 2021 Ecological Complexity, 48, 100963.

Saggiomo L., Esattore B., Bartoš L., Evaluating the management success of an alien species through its hunting bags: the case of the sika deer (Cervus nippon) in the Czech Republic, 2021, Acta Universitatis Agriculturae et Silviculturae Mendelianae Brunensis, 69, 327–336. 10.11118/actaun.2021.030

Esattore B., Šlipogor V., Saggiomo L., Seltmann M.W., How not to judge a deer by its cover”: a personality assessment study on adult captive red deer males (Cervus elaphus), 2021,Behavioural Processes, Volume 186, 104361.

Sensi M., Mazza G., Mori E., Esattore B., Valutazione ambientale del fiume Merse associata a campionamenti del granchio di fiume Potamon fluviatile, 2020, Atti della Società Toscana di Scienze Naturali, Atti Serie B. 10.2424/ASTSN.M.2020.14

Saggiomo L., Esattore B., & Picone F., What are we talking about? Sika deer (Cervus nippon): A bibliometric network analysis, 2020, Ecological Informatics, 60, 101146.10.1016/j.ecoinf.2020.101146

Esattore B., Villagrán M., Pluháček J., Komárková M., Dušek A., Kotrba R., Bartošová J., Bartoš L., "To beat or not to beat: Behavioral plasticity during the antler growth period affects cortisol but not testosterone concentrations in red deer (Cervus elaphus) males.“,2020, General and Comparative Endocrinology 297, 113552.

Saggiomo L., Picone F., Esattore B., Sommese A., 2017, An overview of understudied interaction types amongst large carnivores, Food Webs, 12, 35–39.