PhD studentship – Global Biodiversity Conservation Priorities


Global environmental changes are causing major changes in the distributions and abundances of species and leading to profound changes in the quantity and quality of habitats and the services provided by ecosystems. Conventional conservation planning methodologies still have limited capacity to handle multiple stressors in highly dynamic contexts, and practical conservation rarely anticipates the impacts of future environmental changes. Yet, there is sufficient data and tools, including spatial conservation prioritisation software, to start addressing dynamic conservation problems at a variety of spatial scales. In this project, the PhD student will use decision theory and modeling to develop new methods and protocols for the identification of spatial priorities in biodiversity conservation. The student will benefit from existing global biodiversity and protected areas data while developing additional relevant environmental and socioeconomic databases.

The PhD studentship is suitable for candidates, of any nationality, with a background in biology, ecology and geography and great interest in spatial conservation planning. Skills in GIS are a must, and previous experience with programming is highly desirable. The project is almost exclusively desk-​based and involves manipulation of large biological and environmental databases, so willingness to develop quantitative skills in statistics and mathematics, including operations research, decision theory, and risk analysis, is critical. Preference goes to candidates that already obtained good MSc, have demonstrable experience in GIS, database management, and programming. Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English required.

The candidate will be based in CIBIO/​InBIO at the University of Évora. She/​he will be supervised directly by Prof. Miguel B. Araújo and Dr. Diogo Alagador, while benefiting from a highly multidisciplinary environment with researchers in different areas of global change ecology and conservation biogeography. The candidate will be funded following FCT rules and regulations.

Alagador, D., Cerdeira, J.O. & Araújo, M.B. 2014. Shifting protected areas: scheduling spatial priorities under climate change. Journal of Applied Ecology. 51: 703 – 713.
Dobrovolski, R., Loyola, R.D., Fonseca, G.A.B., Diniz-​Filho, J.A.F. & Araújo, M.B. 2014. Globalizing conservation efforts helps save species and feed the world. Bioscience. Doi: 10.1093/biosci/biu064
Kujala, H., Moilanen, A., Araújo, M.B. & Cabeza, M. 2013. Conservation planning with uncertain climate change projections. PLoS One. 8(2): e53315.
Alagador, D., Triviño, M., Cerdeira, J.O., Brás, R., Cabeza, M., Araújo, M.B. 2012. Linking like with like: optimising connectivity between environmentally-​similar habitats. Landscape Ecology. 27: 291 – 301.
Alagador, D., João Martins, M., Cerdeira, J.O., Cabeza, M. & Araújo, M.B. 2011. A probabilistic-​based approach to match species with reserves when data are at different resolutions. Biological Conservation 144: 811 – 820.
Araújo, M.B., Alagador, D., Cabeza, M., Nogués Bravo, D. & Thuiller, W. 2011. Climate change threatens European conservation areas. Ecology Letters 14: 484 – 492.
Araújo, M.B. 2009. Climate change and Spatial Conservation Planning. In Spatial Conservation Prioritization: quantitative methods and computational tools (eds. A. Moilanen, H. Possingham, K. Wilson). Oxford University Press.
Araújo, M.B. 2009. Protected areas and climate change in Europe. Discussion paper prepared for the 29th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention of the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, pp 30 pages, Bern.

The evaluation consists of a two-​stage process. The first stage involves analysis of the CV and the motivation letter. We are looking for highly motivated candidates with strong quantitative profile and with broad understanding of modern conservation problems. The second stage involves an interview with a reduced set of candidates (typically ca. 25%).

The call for applications is open between 10 and 27 of April 2015. Information about the programme and on ‘How to apply’ is available at www​.bio​div​.pt

Queries about this position can be directed to Diogo Alagador and Miguel Araújo.

Contact:Casa Cordovil, 2º andar, Rua Joaquim Henrique da Fonseca, 7000 – 890 Évora 
phone: +351 266 759 350 email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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