Sonia Silvestri

Sonia Silvestri

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Primary Appointment

Earth & Ocean Sciences Division

Silvestri received her doctoral training in Environmental System Modelling at the University of Padova, with a focus on remote sensing and the interdependence of salt marsh morphology and halophytic vegetation. She received her Laurea in Environmental Sciences from the University Ca’ Foscari in Venice. Silvestri joined the Nicholas School (Duke University) in 2011, where she teaches “Introduction to Satellite Remote Sensing” and “Remote Sensing of Coastal Environments”. Moreover Silvestri is the director of a Duke summer program at the Venice International University “Environmental Management in a Changing World: coping with Sea Level Rise”. Her research focuses on: - Remote Sensing applied to vegetation mapping, soil studies, hydrology, tidal morphology – Remote sensing of coastal water quality - Hyperspectral imagery analysis - Salt marsh evolution modelling - Relationship between wetlands morphology and vegetation - Large-scale multi-criteria analysis (GIS) - Remote sensing and GIS applied to the identification of illegal landfills and contaminated sites – Mosquitoes population dynamic. The Venice lagoon and its watershed have been her principal research sites in the last 15 years. In particular she is expert in the use of satellite remote sensing to monitor the Venice lagoon water quality (turbidity, phytoplankton, water temperature, etc.) and tracing the dynamic of the submerged vegetation. She has been extensively working on the Venice lagoon salt marshes and specifically on using data from a variety of sensors to study the halophytic vegetation and its interaction with the morphology.

In The News


Pivato, M, Carniello, L, Gardner, J, Silvestri, S, and Marani, M. "Water and sediment temperature dynamics in shallow tidal environments: The role of the heat flux at the sediment-water interface." Advances in Water Resources 113 (March 2018): 126-140.
Zhou, X, Marani, M, Albertson, J, and Silvestri, S. "Hyperspectral and Multispectral Retrieval of Suspended Sediment in Shallow Coastal Waters Using Semi-Analytical and Empirical Methods." Remote Sensing 9, no. 4 (April 2017): 393-393.
Yousefi Lalimi, F, Silvestri, S, Moore, LJ, and Marani, M. "Coupled topographic and vegetation patterns in coastal dunes: Remote sensing observations and ecomorphodynamic implications." Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 122, no. 1 (January 2017): 119-130.
Jian, Y, Silvestri, S, Brown, J, Hickman, R, and Marani, M. "The predictability of mosquito abundance from daily to monthly timescales." Ecological Applications : a Publication of the Ecological Society of America 26, no. 8 (December 2016): 2609-2620.
Roner, M, D'Alpaos, A, Ghinassi, M, Marani, M, Silvestri, S, Franceschinis, E, and Realdon, N. "Spatial variation of salt-marsh organic and inorganic deposition and organic carbon accumulation: Inferences from the Venice lagoon, Italy." Advances in Water Resources 93 (July 2016): 276-287.

Recent Grants


ENVIRON 590: Special Topics (ENVIRON 590: Special Topics)
EOS 791: Independent Study (EOS 791: Independent Study)
EOS 393: Research Independent Study (EOS 393: Research Independent Study)


Ph.D., University of Padua (Italy) (2001)
B.A., Universita Ca' Foscari Venezia (Italy) (1997)