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

I have been a Lecturer in Ecosystem Change and Environmental Informatics at University of Stirling since 2019. My main interests are ecosystem function and dynamics, global change biology, macroecology, Earth observation and data science.

My research program bridges Ecology, Geosciences and Data Science to understand how ecosystem dynamics and function respond to natural environmental variability and anthropogenic change. I use methods that range from field data acquisition to large scale analyses using geomatics (remote sensing, GIS , spatial analysis), usually associated with statistical modeling and machine learning.

My main research interests are 1) understanding how environmental variability and change condition plant survival strategies and thus the distribution and assembly of plant communities in harsh and strongly seasonal environments, and 2) forecasting the effects of environmental and landscape change on ecosystem structure and function . I am also keenly interested in developing new methods and technologies for ecosystem observation and monitoring, such as unmanned aerial systems, in situ sensors and forecasting algorithms.

Some of my recent projects include:

  • Measuring and understanding the susceptibility of Amazon floodplain forests and herbaceous vegetation to hydrological variability, extreme climatic events and hydropower damming, and its impacts on carbon cycling dynamics;

  • Assessing the effect of environmental controls on the assembly and distribution of leaf functional traits in the dry mountain vegetation of Central Brazil, using both destructive sampling and field spectroscopy;

  • Understanding historical and modern ecological constraints to the assembly and evolution of the Amazon and Atlantic Forest biotas;

  • Developing new methods for generating and processing Analysis Ready Data from Earth observation satellites to improve and automate habitat mapping and monitoring;

  • Assessing the potential of Unmanned Aerial Systems (a.k.a. drones) for close-range ecosystem observation and monitoring;

I hold a B.Sc. in Biology from University of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil (1998-2002), an M.Sc. in Remote Sensing from the National Institute for Space Research, Brazil (2003-2004), and a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Victoria, Canada (2004-2009). After my doctorate, I held postdoctoral positions at University of California Santa Barbara (2010) and the National Institute for Space Research (2010-2013), the latter funded by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP). Before joining UoS BES, I was an assistant professor at the Geography Department of São Paulo State University (UNESP) - Rio Claro campus, from 2013 to 2019.

I also hold an Assistant Researcher position at the Earth Research Institute of University of California Santa Barbara, and am currently the as science coordinator for the Research Network on the Ecology and Sustainable use of Amazonian Floodplain Forests (RECORFLOR). I am also an associate Editor for the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography, and a National Geographic Explorer.

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