2013 Beck Scholar

2013 Beck Scholar
Dr. Marco Vattano, PhD (MSc Student)
Department of Earth and Sea Sciences,
University of Palermo

Marco Vattano was born on 23 December 1973 in Catania (Sicily, Italy), where he grew up and graduated from high school. Then he moved to Palermo, where he began his graduate studies. In Palermo he began his caving activities thanks to a course organized by the Italian Alpine Club in 1996.  

Marco Vattano graduated with first class honor in 2005 in the Geology and Geodesy Department, Faculty of Science, University of Palermo, Italy. He then earned his Professional Geologist registration. In 2006, he started his PhD in Geology at the University of Palermo and successfully completed his thesis “Geomorphological evolution of evaporite karst areas in South-Central Sicily by relationship analysis between hypogean karst landforms and surface landforms” in 2009. Between 2006-2007, Macro was supported by a fellowship sponsored by the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) of Palermo, concerning the geochemistry of dissolution waters in gypsum karst systems. In 2009 he won a four years post-doc position funded by the Earth and Sea Sciences Department of the University of Palermo. During this period his research has mainly focused on the understanding of the Geomorphologic evolution of karst areas in Sicily. At present he is an MSc student in a course called "Expert in monitoring, analysis and management of environmental data - MAGDA" under the Operational Programme 2007/2013 - ESF Region of Sicily, hosted by the University of Palermo. 

Marco actively led and participated in several surveys and field activities and the correlated studies on karst and environmental problems in Spain (2007), Russia (2003 and 2009) and Mexico (2012). Marco’s research interests mainly concern the geomorphological evolution of landscapes with particular focus on karst areas. He studies both surface and subsurface forms. Marco is currently focused on the studies of underground cavities in beneath various towns in Sicily and to sinkhole formation in evaporites or mining environments. In the future, Marco would like to broaden his knowledge on sinkholes, learning new and more advanced techniques for monitoring, modeling and prediction of the sinkhole formation and development. Marco has currently published more than 20 articles, half of which are in international journals or conferences. 

Marco’s teaching activities include a lecture position for the Karst and Speleology course at the University of Palermo in 2009/2010, in 2010/2011 an Environmental Cartography course and in 2012/2013 an Environmental Geology course. Since 2001 he has been collaborating in several research projects carried out by the geomorphological group of the Earth and Sea Sciences Department, in Palermo. Marco has participated in several national and international conferences on geologic, geomorphologic and karst themes. He was a board member of the organizing committee of a summer school (Geoecological problems of the Pre-Ural region) in Perm (Russia). In addition he presented an invited lecture at the XIX International Karstological School hosted in Postojna (Slovenia). Since 1997 Marco has organized and directed caving courses. He has visited, explored and mapped caves mainly in Sicily but also in Italy, Russia, Spain and Mexico. He has been an active member of the Italian Speleological Rescue Team since 1999. Marco is passionate about cave photography and several of his photos are published in books, papers and covers of scientific journals.