Dr Thiago Silva

Lecturer Environmental Informatics

Biological and Environmental Sciences Faculty of Natural Sciences University of Stirling Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK

Dr Thiago Silva

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About me

Back when I was applying for university, I had a really hard time deciding between Ecology and Computer Science. So I think it is no surprise I ended up gravitating towards ecosystems and functional ecology. It was only natural I would end up being most fascinated by the algorithms of nature. Since then I have continuously alternated between the states of Ecologist, Geoscientist and Computer Scientist, to better understand what makes Ecosystem tick.

Nowadays, I define myself as a "digital ecologist", but if you prefer, my official title is Lecturer in Environmental Informatics. I have been at University of Stirling since 2019, where I teach Geomatics (GEOU9IS, ENMPG11), Plant Ecology (BIOU6PE) and Field Biology (SCIU3FB).

I am also a National Geographic Explorer, and an Associate Editor for [Global Ecology and Biogeography] (https://www.wiley.com/en-gb/Global+Ecology+and+Biogeography-p-9780JRNL60183).

My science focus as an ecologist is on how plant communities and ecosystems assemble and function in complex, abiotic-driven environments like wetlands, dry forests and savannas, or altitude vegetation. I also a firm believer that ecology should focus less on "species" and more on functions and mechanisms.

As a geoscientist, I specialise in using Earth Observation (Remote Sensing), environmental sensing and other Earth science methods to capture how ecosystems are shaped by their environment.

And as a computer scientist, I use lots of statistics and code (R, Python, and others) to analyse, simulate and forecast ecological processes. I'm also interested in integrating game design methods and frameworks to improve ecological modelling and visualisation, especially in combination with VR/AR/XR for data exploration and science education.

Lately I've been really interested in developing specialised and open-source software and hardware to push the envelope of ecological sensing: drones, automated cameras, passive audio recorders and any low-cost sensing hardware, built using single board computers, microcontrollers and 3D printing



  • 2003–¬2009 Ph.D., Geography. University of Victoria, Canada.

  • 2002–¬2003 M.Sc., Remote Sensing. National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Brazil.

  • 1998–¬2002 B.Sc. (Hons.), Biology. Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Brazil.

Professional Experience

2019–present Lecturer. University of Stirling, UK. Division of Biological and Environmental Sciences.

2013–2019 Assistant Professor. São Paulo State University (UNESP), Brazil. Geography Department, Institute for Geosciences and Mathematical Sciences

2010–2013 Postdoctoral Researcher. National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Brazil. Remote Sensing Division

2009–2010 Postdoctoral Researcher. University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), USA. Earth Research Institute.

2009–2010 Sessional Lecturer. Camosun College, Canada. Geography Department

2009–2010 Sessional Lecturer. University of Victoria, Canada. Geography Department

2003–2009 Teaching Assistant. University of Victoria, Canada. Geography Department

Grants and Awards

2018– present NSF DEB. Aquatic metabolism and carbon dioxide flux: Linking physical and biological processes in Amazon floodplains.

2018–present Brazilian Council for Scientific Research (CNPq). Using managed pollinators to support conservation and sustainable açai production in the Amazon estuary region.

2017–present National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration. Spatial and temporal carbon dynamics in Amazonian várzea forests: the role of flood dynamics and landscape heterogeneity.

2013–present Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Assessment of PALSAR-2 SAR imagery for monitoring inundation and vegetation distribution, biomass and phenology in the Amazon floodplain wetlands.

2017–present NASA. Methane fluxes from tropical aquatic systems: integration of measurements, hydrological and biogeochemical models and remote sensing.

2014– 2019 São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP). e-phenology: combining new technologies to monitor phenology from leaves to ecosystems.

2017–2019 São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP). Application of UAV High-Resolution Digital Elevation Models in Geology and Geomorphology.

2016–2019 USAID PEER. History and diversification of floodplain forest bird communities in Amazonia: towards an integrated conservation plan.

2012–2017 NSF Dimensions of Biodiversity /São Paulo Research Foundation BIOTA. Assembly and evolution of the Amazon biota: an integrative approach. 2013–2016 Brazilian Council for Scientific Research (CNPq). Modeling the primary productivity of herbaceous vegetation in the Amazon floodplains: a multiscale approach.

2014–2016 Impacts of floods and droughts on aquatic macrophytes, forests, and fisheries of central Amazonian river floodplains. US$ 20,000 (US$ 1.M total). Role: Co-I. PI: Leandro Castello, Virginia Tech.

2014-2015 UNESP Competitive Research Startup Grant. Environmental applications of low cost unmanned aerial vehicles.

2010–2013 São Paulo Research Foundation postdoctoral fellowship. Modeling of the spatial dynamics of macrophyte communities in the Amazon floodplain.

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