PhD candidate in Environmental Sciences at WSL and ETH Zürich
Areas of Expertise:
Environmental Sciences, Conservation Biology and Informatics
I’m a Swiss-Brazilian citizen with a family divided by the Atlantic, born in Venezuela and raised in the countryside of Brazil. This background suits the nature of my interdisciplinary interests, which also forged an unusual career path. I first studied informatics in a 2 year formal technical education
, then I graduated in Conservation Biology in Brazil. Later, I came to Switzerland and pursued my Master in Environmental Sciences at ETH. My master thesis was conducted at the theoretical biology group, with major in Ecology and Evolution at the department of integrative biology. After the Master’s I left Switzerland and worked on public and private sectors. Now I am back in the land as a PhD candidate in landscape ecology.
During my bachelor at UFSCar
I collaborated with several research groups and gained experience on teaching, field work, data analysis and population dynamics modelling. At that point, I investigated and quantified the effects of artificial illumination at firefly’s populations. I proposed fireflies as potential flagship species and bioindicators for artificial ilumination once they can be easily spotted at night and are charismatic (a rare characteristic among insects). While monitoring firefly populations in Atlantic rain forests over the years I felt in love with these lightning bugs and became engaged in communicating
and tackling Photopollution.
Throughout my Master`s at ETH
, I enhanced my mathematical and modelling skills, specifically regarding speciation and extinction processes. We proposed a generalized model and evaluated the effects of different extinction and speciation processes on phylogenetic trees shape, trying to better understand macroevolutionary processes. Our results suggested an age-dependent speciation, and we also briefly discussed motivations and plausible biological implications of our findings. This research project developed to other scientific collaborations towards extinction processes from a conservation and macroevolutionary/paleontological
perspective. Yielding a few publications
, an R-package TreeSimGM
(simulates phylogenies) and the expansion of the software PyRate
(estimates macroevolutionary rates from fossil data using a Bayesian framework). These projects strengthened my interest in better understanding biodiversity dynamics and consolidated my interest towards applied ecology and computational biology (still in love with the fireflies though!).
Away from academia, I conducted an internship at the forestry department of the Federal Office for the Environment in Switzerland (BAFU
) and worked as a consultant in a conservation project in Laos. The project targeted the implementation of SN-REDD in two national protected areas in the South and was the first public-private partnership in the country. Early 2015 I dove into an insect farm start-up project in Brazil, which is still operational with my partial involvement. Our plans are to reduce waste from other industrial sectors while providing organic fertilizer and alternative protein sources to fish and chicken production. I dream of a more sustainable and environmentally friendly animal feed production in comparison to the current soya and overexploited fishmeal production systems.
Car and motorbike (international license); scuba diving (PADI advanced open water).
Photographing, observing nature (e.g. landscapes, wildlife and human beings), playing ukulele, painting/drawing, handcrafting and exploring new technologies.