Dr. Ricardo Pita

I am broadly interested in the relationships between species and their (changing) environment at multiple spatial and temporal scales. My primary goal is to undertake applied research in conservation biology that simultaneously addresses basic ecological questions. This has been the underlying rationale behind my recent research, which has been largely concerned with the mechanisms ruling the persistence and coexistence of spatially structured populations in heterogeneous environments. I am particularly interested in the interaction between habitat fragmentation and spatial (meta)population processes in species of conservation importance, and also in understanding how environmental change may influence interspecific interactions across space and time. I mostly employ experimental field and modelling approaches, and use mammalian species in intensively used agricultural landscapes as model-​systems. In particular, I have been carrying out applied research on vole species living in highly fragmented Mediterranean farmland. My current research program includes studies on the local and landscape environmental factors affecting Cabrera and southern water voles occurrence and abundance at their south-​western distribution limit. I am also involved in a research project that aims to quantify and predict voles movements and extinction-​colonisation dynamics in fragmented landscapes, using both ecological and genetic approaches. One of our main future goals is to build links between ecological processes operating at small scales (local and landscape) and species distribution modelling at large (biogeographic) scales.

Selected 5 publications:

· Pita R, Mira A, Beja P (2006). Conserving the Cabrera vole, Microtus cabrerae, in intensively used Mediterranean landscapes. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment 115, 1 – 5. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2005.12.002

· Pita R, Beja P, Mira A (2007). Spatial population structure of the Cabrera vole in Mediterranean farmland: The relative role of patch and matrix effects. Biological Conservation 134, 383 – 392. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2006.08.026

· Pita R, Mira A, Moreira F, Morgado R, Beja P (2009). Influence of landscape characteristics on carnivore diversity and abundance in Mediterranean farmland. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment 132, 57 – 65. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2009.02.008

· Pita R, Mira A, Beja P (2011). Assessing habitat differentiation between coexisting species: The role of spatial scale. Acta Oecologica-​International Journal of Ecology 37, 124 – 132. doi:10.1016/j.actao.2011.01.006

· Pita R, Mira A, Beja P (2011). Circadian activity rhythms in relation to season, sex and interspecific interactions in two Mediterranean voles. Animal Behaviour 81, 1023 – 1030. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2011.02.007

Researcher ID:http://​www​.researcherid​.com/​r​i​d​/​D​-​3111 – 2011

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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