I am Associate Professor/Reader in Ecology at the School of Environmental Sciences and the Director of the International Masters in Applied Ecology at UEA. I co-ordinate the Movetech Telemetry project aiming to develop new animal tracking technologies to understand wildlife responses to environmental change. My teaching is research led and I like to involve undergraduate and postgraduate students in my research. Before joining UEA, I was a Post-doctoral researcher at Washington State University studying the movement strategies of butterflies in Oregon, US. Prior to this I was a Postdoctoral researcher at the Universities of Leeds and York and examined the influence of climate change at the range boundaries of insect species in the UK. I have a PhD from UEA, a MSc in Applied Maths from the The University of Lisbon and my original BSc training was in Biology with Ecology also at the University of Lisbon. Prior to the PhD, I coordinated an EU LIFE Nature conservation project for a Portuguese Environmental NGO and worked for the Portuguese Environmental Agency as a consultant.


Research Interests

I am a conservation ecologist interested in movement ecology, biogeography and ecological responses to global change.  My early work identified measures to protect a globally endangered species and by working alongside non-governmental organisations we implemented effective conservation actions. This work was included in the Wildlife comeback in Europe report. 

At present, I am interested in understanding global patterns of distribution of biodiversity and the drivers and determinants underlying species range limits, at different spatial scales. The outputs and and models can be used to predict the effects of global environmental change and to inform the design of priority areas for conservation. My group is involved in developing and testing new animal tracking technologies aiming to investigate recent changes in animal movement strategies, for example, the establishment of non-migratory populations in previously wholly migratory species. Ultimately we are interested in the identifying the drivers and determinants underlying these recent changes in the migratory behaviour of animals.


 Research projects

I am involved in a several research projects as Principal Investigator (PI) and co-Investigator (co-I).

- Understanding heatwave damage through reproduction in insect systems (2020-2023). Co-I NERC standard grant. PI: Prof. Matt Gage UEA.

- SENSUM: Smart SENSing of landscapes Undergoing hazardous hydrogeological Movement (2020-2022). Co-I NERC Digital Environment. PI: Dr. Georgina Bennett, University of Exeter.

- BOULDER: Accounting for BOUlders in Landslide-flood Disaster Evaluation and Resilience. co-I NERC SHEAR catalyst. PI: Dr. Georgie Bennett, University of Exeter.

- Refugial Populations at Trailing-Edge Range Margins: Attributes, Survival and Conservation. Co-I NERC standard grant (2015-2018) PI: Prof. Chris Thomas, University of York

- Migratory decisions in a changing world: mechanisms and drivers of changing migratory behaviour (2013-16). PI NERC standard grant.

- Understanding the migratory behaviour of long-lived species and responses to global environmental change using state-of-the-art GPS/GSM loggers (2016). PI NERC, ELSA and NRP funded.


We have studied the movement of  Aldina Francowhite storks and quantified how important landfill resources are for the resident birds. We have shown that resident birds use their nests all year round and that storks nesting near landfill have smaller home ranges than storks breeding further away:

- Understanding causes and consequences of the extreme thermal sensitivity of male fertility using a model insect (2013-16). Co-I NERC standard grant. PI: Prof. Matt Gage, UEA

- The role of dispersal in species' ability to respond to climate change (2010-2013). PI NERC standard grant.

Development of animal tracking devices

I coordinate the Movetech Telemetry project at UEA, this is a collaboration with BTO and University of Porto, Portugal. We develop state-of-the-art tracking devices for wildlife that include multiple sensors (e.g. barometer, accelerometer).

NERC Proof-of-Concept (2016-2017) Long range wireless devices for high-resolution monitoring of animal movement. Co-Is JP Silva (UL e UP), P Atkinson (BTO)

Norwich Research Park Innovation Fund (2016) MoveTech – State-of-the art loggers for tracking animal movement. Co-Is JP Silva (UL e UP), P Atkinson (BTO)

 UEA Proof-of-Concept fund (2015) Development of light weight GPS/GSM loggers. Co-Is JP Silva, (UL e UP), P Atkinson (BTO) 

 PhD and postdoctoral positions

Fully-funded PhD projects:

Designing protected areas networks that incorporate animal movement and habitat connectivity

Supervisors: Aldina Franco (UEA), Rachel Carmenta (DEV, UEA), Trevor Torhurst (ENV,UEA) and Carlos David Santos (Universidade Federal do Para', Brazil).

I am happy to accept PhD students and postdocs and to help develop funding applications (e.g Marie Curie, FCT studentships, SwB). My group has an international focus, I am fluent in Portuguese and Spanish.  

Click here for current PhD opportunities in the School of Environmental Sciences. However, feel free to email me to discuss projects outside these areas and alternative sources of funding.


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