Who I am
I graduated in biology from the University of Porto in 2001 and obtained an MSc degree in applied ecology from the same university in 2004 and a PhD degree in biological science from the University of Aberdeen in 2010. Currently I work as an independent assistant researcher at CIBIO/InBIO, focusing on the ecology of predatory fish (mainly sharks), their movements and spatial distribution and their environmental constraints, as well as the consequences of these for conservation. The aim is to understand patterns, mechanisms, causes and consequences of animal movements, with a main approach being to develop and apply novel telemetry/bio-logging systems to obtain unique insights into free-ranging marine fish behaviour. Specifically, I am interested firstly in understanding the effects of environmental heterogeneity on behavioural strategies and what the consequences might be across scales; secondly in determining the processes underpinning movement patterns and how these converge across species and habitats; and thirdly in identifying and understanding the short- and long-term influences of climate and fishing on marine fish populations. These approaches and data are employed to aid fisheries management and species conservation. A current interest is in the development of novel bio-logging tags for sharks.
Where I work
I work at CIBIO/InBIO, which is an internationally recognised research unit in biological sciences that conducts basic and applied research on the three main components of biodiversity: genes, species and ecosystems. The main lab is in northern Portugal where I am based for most of the time. However, CIBIO/InBIO has implemented a TwinLab in Namibia (in partnership with University of Namibia), which also harbours one of the main fishing ports from where surface longliners operate in the South Atlantic, including in the waters off St Helena. This is a remote volcanic island where female mako sharks longer than three metres (10 feet) have recently been observed.
What I do
The project involves the deployment of long-term (more than two years) satellite tags in large female mako sharks in the South Atlantic during the longlining operations of a commercial vessel for about eight weeks. Tags will be attached to the first dorsal fin of the sharks and will transmit positional data in near-real time. Once the satellite data have been relayed, a team of researchers and students will analyse the data relating to movements and behaviour by using custom-written algorithms and high-performance computing.