Lake Como was the field site for my PhD research. This work was conducted between 2008 and 2012 while carrying out a PhD at the University of Western Australia, with a joint enrolment in Environmental Engineering and Cultural Anthropology.

My PhD research was focused on the water currents in the lake in different conditions and seasons from a scientific point of view (physical limnology) and its interface with the knowledge and practices of professional fishermen. I integrated insights from mixed quantitative and qualitative methods that included hydrological modeling, questionnaires, participatory mapping and ethnographic fieldwork. The result was an interdisciplinary dissertation focused on the processes by which knowledge of the lake environment is created, transferred and applied by different stakeholder groups – commercial fishers, dam managers, local lakeshore citizens and scientists.

Below is an example of a visual “table of content” for one of the articles that came out of this project, with some images taken during fieldwork with fishermen, and a map and transect representations of movements of fishing nets. The research provided some detailed analysis and modeling of the internal metabolism of the lake in relation to the season, climatological conditions and winds from a scientific perspective, for example this article in the journal Limnology and Oceanography. It also highlighted the fine, embodied knowledge that traditional fishermen have for the lake and its water movements even in the depths, for example in this article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. I then proposed a reflection on ‘knowledge making’ based on the learnings from this context, and discussed the friction that often occurs at the interface of different ways of knowing. Four peer-reviewed articles came out of this research, which you may access via my Google Scholar page or by downloading my thesis on the UWA repository.

This project ended in 2012. A key collaborator was fisherman Alessandro Sala and his family in San Giovanni, Bellagio. Alessandro and I also presented some of our collaborative work to the public in the form of a dialogue on ‘ways of knowing’ the Lario, or Lake Como, at the Alto Museo dell’Alta Brianza.