Frugivory and seed dispersal
Plant animal mutualism
I was born and raised in Brazil and I earned my Bachelor degree in Biology at the Universidade Estadual de Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil (UNICAMP) in 1990. I obtained my Master degree in Ecology at the same university in 1991. In 1997 I received my PhD from Cambridge University, England. In my research I studied the impact of palm harvesting (the palm heart or palmito, Euterpe edulis) on fruit-eating birds in the Atlantic forest. This palm is a dominant species and it is considered a keystone species for the frugivore community in the Atlantic forest. Nowadays, the populations of palm hearts can be found only in Protected Areas and they are highly threatened by illegal harvesting. The results of my research not only point out the major drivers of palm harvesting but also suggest alternatives to control this problem. The major results of my research was published in Biological Conservation and Journal of Applied Ecology.
After finishing my PhD, I start my post doctorate in Kalimantan, Indonesia where I studied seed dispersal by hornbills and sun bears in a pristine forest. Most of Bornean rainforests are subject to logging and there are few areas where we can study natural regeneration process. Unfortunately due to the civil war I had to evacuate from the field site and then return to Brazil.
Since 1998 I am a professor at the Departamento de Ecologia at UNESP Rio Claro where I have published more than 100 papers in peer review journals in Portuguese, Spanish and English. I have also organized a book on the conservation of Parrots and Macaws in Brazil. I have presented papers in several international congresses around the world.
I was a Visiting Scientist at Integrative Ecology Group at Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC) in Seville, Spain (2000, 2002, 2007). From 2007 and 2008, I was awarded twice as Tinker Professor at the Center for Latin American Studies at Stanford University, CA, USA.
I was responsible for the coordination of several conservation projects supported by national (CNPq, FAPESP, Capes) and International agencies (Cyted, WWF, WCS, Conservation International, Earthwatch International, International Foundation for Science). From Jan. 2011 I became the Latin American Editor of Biological Conservation.
My major research interest is to understand the complex interactions between fruit-eating animals (frugivores) and plants and the impact of human activities, including forest fragmentation, exotic species, climate change and poaching. My major study areas are in the Pantanal and Atlantic rain forest, but I also have experience with Amazon ecosystems where I worked in Paragominas region, Pará. At moment I have 2 major projects:
1) The ecological and evolutionary effects of defaunation on key mutualism and antagonisms
2) The status and conservation of large mammals and birds in the Brazilian Atlantic forest