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Adaptability of livestock systems to climate change

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Coordinator : Prof. ssa Ciampolini Roberta


Fabio Abeni, Umberto Bernabucci, Martino Cassandro, Giuseppe Conte, Emiliano Lasagna, Donata Marletta, Salvatore Mastrangelo


  • Sharing of project ideas on the main research topics relating to Climate Change and its impact on livestock systems.

  • Genomics studies on the biodiversity of native populations belonging to the main species in livestock production: Bovine, Ovine and Goat, both Italian and in the Mediterranean area. These studies are aimed at understanding the architecture of the genetic bases involved in the physiology of adaptation to climate change.

  • Identification of SNPs genotypes, associated with the tolerance of adverse climatic conditions, useful in "Genomic Selection" genetic improvement programs to speed up genetic progress and for a more targeted and incisive action in the planning and management of future breeding schemes.

  • Impact of climate change on livestock production and farming systems.

  • Identification of nutritional-food strategies to mitigate the impact of climate change and improve acclimatization to heat stress conditions.

  • Control and modification of the stable microclimate to improve environmental conditions and promote animal welfare.

Activities 2022-2023:


From the 24th Congress in Padua September 2021 to the Conference in Palermo June 2022, the activities of the commission focused on the adaptability to climatic conditions of native and international bovine breeds bred in Italy and Italian native ovine breeds. The study of genetic variability and the relationships between the different breeds of the two species has already been addressed in recent years through the Bovita and Biovita research projects in which the members of the commission were involved. The objective of the project was to deepen our knowledge regarding the genomic areas and possible candidate genes involved in the adaptation to the environmental conditions of the farming areas and climate changes and in highlighting any peculiarities of the two species.


A. Seminar activities:


  • Professor Umberto Bernabucci presented 2 seminars entitled:


  1. The welfare of the cow in relation to the climate: what are the fundamental points to monitor. 23rd SATA Cattle Seminar: 'Animal welfare. Modern strategies and old critical issues'", 11 March 2021.

  2. “Impact of climate change (global warming) on milk yield and quality”. Climate Change and Net Zero Carbon Emissions session. Global Dairy Talks Virtual Conference, University of Idaho, April 23, 2022.


  • In the context of the "ASPA Webinar" seminar activities 2022, the Study Commission presented 2 seminars on 24 April 2022 entitled:


  1. “What are the selection objectives to face climate change?” Presented by ASPA President Prof. Nicolò Pietro Paolo Macciotta University of Sassari.

  2. “Plasticity of farming systems in response to climate change” Presented by Dr. Fabio Abeni CREA Zootechnics and Aquaculture Research Center in collaboration with Prof. Umberto Bernabucci University of Tuscia


  • In the context of the "ASPA Webinar" seminar activities 2023, the Study Commission presented 3 seminars entitled:


  1. “Effect of Climate Change on the Quality of Products of Animal Origin” Presented by Prof. Giuseppe Conte University of Pisa.

  2. “The IHT: Genomic Index for heat stress applied in the Italian Holstein population” Presented by Dr. Raffaella Finocchiaro – ANAFIBJ

  3. “Effect of climate variations on the composition and mid-infrared spectrum of sheep's milk” presented by Dr. Fabio Correddu – University of Sassari


B.  II level Master in "Sustainable Development and Climate Change" a.y. 2021-22 University of Pisa:

  • Professor Giuseppe Conte held 2 lectures entitled:


  1. LCA: structuring, theoretical bases and case studies of the livestock sector, 11 February 2022.

  2. Animal farming and climate-altering emissions: ruminants, 25 February 2022


  • Professor Roberta Ciampolini held 1 lesson entitled

  1. The Genomics of animal species in livestock production for the study of adaptation to Climate Change, 9 April 2022


C. Participation in the activities of the P.N.R.R. - National Recovery and Resilience Plan: MISSION 4 COMPONENT 2 INVESTMENT 1.4 NATIONAL CENTER 2 - “National Research Center for Agricultural Technologies (Agritech)”:

  • Task 5.2.2, “Testing of resistant and resilient animals” (G Conte and R Ciampolini UNIPI - D Marletta UNICAT);

  • Task 5.2.5 Precision feeding of livestock under unfavorable climate (U Bernabucci UNITUS);

  • Task 5.3.6 Precision feeding of livestock to mitigate environmental impact and reduce antimicrobials utilization (U Bernabucci UNITUS).




For the dissemination of ASPA webinars on social channels, the Commission has reported conferences and events on issues relating to climate change such as:

  • “Sustainability, Water Resources and Climate Change" 28 April at 2.00 pm, organized by the degree course in Environmental Sciences of the University of Pisa, with the patronage of CIRSEC, AISA Italian Association of Environmental Sciences, Order of Geologists of the Tuscany Region and IAH- Italy (Italian Group of the International Association of Hydrogeologists). Seminar entitled: "Sharing knowledge: the first step for the protection of water resources". Link to follow the seminars:

  • Workshop "Global Change and Water Resources: Past, Present and Future" - 26-27 May 2022Global Changes and Water Resources: Past, Present and Future Workshop University of Pisa Earth Sciences Department Via S. Maria 53 Room C - First floor - Join the workshop here Teams

  • The Commission has published the following synopses on the topics under the study:

    • Adaptation to climate change in farmed ruminants: new research analyzes the genes.

    • The Maremma Cattle Breed: The genomic basis of adaptation to the environment.


Scientific publications:

  • Maggiolino A, Landi V, Bartolomeo N, Bernabucci U, Santus E, Bragaglio A and De Palo P (2022) Effect of Heat Waves on Some Italian Brown Swiss Dairy Cows’ Production Patterns. Front. Anim. Sci. 2:800680. doi: 10.3389/fanim.2021.800680.

  • Senczuk G., Criscione A., Mastrangelo S., Biscarini F., Marletta D., Pilla F., Laloë D., Ciampolini R (2022). How Geography and Climate Shaped the Genomic Diversity of Italian Local Cattle and Sheep Breeds. Animals 12(17), 2198.

  • Mastrangelo S., Ben-Jemaa S., Perini F., Cendron F., Biscarini F., Lasagna E., Penasa M., Cassandro M. (2023). Genome-wide mapping of signatures of selection using a high-density array identified candidate genes for growth traits and local adaptation in chickens. Genetics Selection Evolution 55(1), 1-16.

  • Petrocchi Jasinski F.; Evangelista C.; Basiricò L.; Bernabucci U (2023). Responses of Dairy Buffalo to Heat Stress Conditions and Mitigation Strategies: A Review. Animals 13, 1260. 

  • Biscarini F., Laloe D., Mastrangelo S., Senczuk G., Persichilli C., Conte G., Finocchiaro R., Thijs van Kaam J., Benzoni L., Ciampolini R., Cassandro M. (2023). Integrative factorial methods to explore the relationships between genotypes, phenotypes and climate in Holstein cows. Comunicazione orale al 25th ASPA Congress Monopoli – Bari June 13-16, 2023.

  • Evangelista C., Ferrari C., Basiricò L., Garcia R., Bernabucci U. (2023). Effects of an electrolyte, antioxidant and osmolyte blend supplement on milk yield and cheesemaking properties in Holstein lactating cows during warm season. Poster al 25th ASPA Congress Monopoli – Bari June 13-16, 2023

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