Dr. Tonina joined the Center of Ecohydraulics Research and the Department of Civil Engineering in 2009. Natural environments are complex systems that require a holistic approach for synthesizing physical and biological processes. He follows this approach in his research, which can be broadly defined as ecohydrology. His research interests are in identifying and modeling linkages between physical processes and biological systems. This line of research would improve our knowledge and ability to manage and protect river basins, water supplies, and riverine ecosystems, and thus forms an important base for new public policy, urban development, and engineering designs. His research is not focused on one subject, but it examines the connection and interaction of different components that form a natural system.
His interests include surface and ground water processes, the interface between these two major systems, the hyporheic zone. In subsurface hydrology, he has investigated solute transport in heterogeneous formations with a stochastic approach. In the surface water area, he is interested in sediment transport, river morphology response to disturbances and their effect on solute mixing and aquatic habitat. He is particularly interested in surface-subsurface water interaction and its implications for ecosystems and water quality. He has been investigating how these interactions affect nutrient cycles, in-stream self-cleaning processes, which answer both engineering needs and ecological questions on how to manage and protect water resources. He is interested in defining the importance of hyporheic flow in different environments and under changing conditions. He is currently collaborating on the evaluation of a new airborne green lidar technology for surveying both terrestrial and aquatic systems (EAARL systems). This tool will provide extremely accurate topography of river networks and their surrounding riparian and floodplain zones and will support new research in river network evolution and structure, aquatic and terrestrial habitats, and surface processes.
Current Professional Activities
Member of American Geophysical Union
Member of Idaho Board of Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors
Member of the Guild of the Professional Engineers of the Autonomous Province of Trento