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

Share a link

About me

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.


Ecosystems ecology, functional plant ecology, global change biology, ecohydrology, macroecology and biogeography, remote sensing, GIS, spatial analysis, vegetation modeling, wetlands, Amazon, tropical ecosystems, seasonal ecosystems.

Outputs (62)



Fleischmann AS, Papa F, Fassoni-Andrade A, Melack JM, Wongchuig S, Paiva RCD, Hamilton SK, Fluet-Chouinard E, Barbedo R, Aires F, Al Bitar A, Bonnet M, Coe M, Ferreira-Ferreira J & Silva TSF (2022) How much inundation occurs in the Amazon River basin?. Remote Sensing of Environment, 278, Art. No.: 113099. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2022.113099


Fornazari T, Daunt ABP & Silva TSF (2021) Concessões em Áreas Protegidas: Uma Análise dos Modelos Estadunidense, Chileno e a Proposta Para o Estado de São Paulo (BRA) [Concessions in protected areas: An analysis of USA, Chilean models and the proposal for the state of Sao Paulo (Bra)]. Revista Geoaraguaia, 11 (2), pp. 109-128. https://periodicoscientificos.ufmt.br/ojs/index.php/geo/article/view/13062


Silva CHLJ, Moura YM, Pessôa ACM, Trevisan DP, Mendes FS, Reis JBC, Picoli MCA, Wiederkehr NC, Carvalho NS, Dalagnol R, Kuck TN, Rosan TM, Silva TSF, Liesenberg V & Bispo PC (2021) Surviving as a young scientist in Brazil. Science, 374 (6570), p. 948. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abm8160


Schongart J, Wittmann F, de Resende AF, Assahira C, Lobo GdS, Neves JRD, da Rocha M, Mori GB, Quaresma AC, Demarchi LO, Albuquerque BW, Feitosa YO, Costa GdS, Feitoza GV & Silva TSF (2021) The shadow of the Balbina dam: A synthesis of over 35 years of downstream impacts on floodplain forests in Central Amazonia. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 31 (5), pp. 1117-1135. https://doi.org/10.1002/aqc.3526


Petsch DK, Saito VS, Landeiro VL, Silva TSF, Bini LM, Heino J, Soininen J, Tolonen KT, Jyrkänkallio-Mikkola J, Pajunen V, Siqueira T & Melo AS (2021) Beta diversity of stream insects differs between boreal and subtropical regions, but land use does not generally cause biotic homogenization. Freshwater Science, 40 (1), pp. 53-64. https://doi.org/10.1086/712565


Merrick T, Jorge MLSP, Silva TSF, Pau S, Rausch J, Broadbent EN & Bennartz R (2020) Characterization of chlorophyll fluorescence, absorbed photosynthetically active radiation, and reflectance-based vegetation index spectroradiometer measurements. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 41 (17), pp. 6755-6782. https://doi.org/10.1080/01431161.2020.1750731


ter Steege H, Prado PI, de Lima RAF, Pos E, de Souza Coelho L, de Andrade Lima Filho D, Salomão RP, Amaral IL, de Almeida Matos FD, Castilho CV, Phillips OL, Guevara JE, Veiga Carim MdJ, Cardena Lopez D & Silva TSF (2020) Biased-corrected richness estimates for the Amazonian tree flora. Scientific Reports, 10, Art. No.: 10130. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-66686-3


de Almeida DRA, Stark SC, Valbuena R, Broadbent EN, Silva TSF, de Resende AF, Ferreira MP, Cardil A, Silva CA, Amazonas N, Zambrano AMA & Brancalion PHS (2020) A new era in forest restoration monitoring. Restoration Ecology, 28 (1), pp. 8-11. https://doi.org/10.1111/rec.13067


Gomes VHF, IJff SD, Raes N, Amaral IL, Salomão RP, de Souza Coelho L, de Almeida Matos FD, Castilho CV, de Andrade Lima Filho D, López DC, Guevara JE, Magnusson WE, Phillips OL, Wittmann F & Silva TSF (2018) Species Distribution Modelling: Contrasting presence-only models with plot abundance data. Scientific Reports, 8 (1), Art. No.: 1003. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-18927-1

Conference Proceeding

Nogueira K, Dos Santos JA, Cancian L, Borges BD, Silva TSF, Morellato LP & Torres RdS (2017) Semantic segmentation of vegetation images acquired by unmanned aerial vehicles using an ensemble of ConvNets. In: 2017 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS). IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium Proceedings. 2017 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, Fort Worth, TX, USA, 23.07.2017-28.07.2017. Piscataway, NJ, USA: IEEE, pp. 3787-3790. https://doi.org/10.1109/IGARSS.2017.8127824

Book Chapter

Hess LL, Costa M, Evans TL, Silva TSF, Chapman BD & Milne T (2016) Remote Sensing of Wetland Types: Tropical Flooded Forests. In: Finlayson C, Everard M, Irvine K, McInnes R, Middleton B, van Dam A & Davidson N (eds.) The Wetland Book. Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 1-5. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6172-8_303-2


Morellato LPC, Alberton B, Alvarado ST, Borges BD, Buisson E, Camargo MGG, Cancian LF, Carstensen DW, Escobar DFE, Leite PTP, Mendoza I, Rocha NMWB, Soares NC, Silva TSF & Staggemeier VG (2016) Linking plant phenology to conservation biology. Biological Conservation, 195, pp. 60-72. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2015.12.033


de Almeida Furtado LF, Silva TSF, Fernandes PJF & de Moraes Novo EML (2015) Land cover classification of Lago Grande de Curuai floodplain (Amazon, Brazil) using multi-sensor and image fusion techniques [Classificação da cobertura da terra na planície de inundação do Lago Grande de Curuai (Amazônia, Brasil) utilizando dados multisensor e fusão de imagens]. Acta Amazonica, 45 (2), pp. 195-202. https://doi.org/10.1590/1809-4392201401439


Ferreira-Ferreira J, Silva TSF, Streher AS, Affonso AG, de Almeida Furtado LF, Forsberg BR, Valsecchi J, Queiroz HL & de Moraes Novo EML (2015) Combining ALOS/PALSAR derived vegetation structure and inundation patterns to characterize major vegetation types in the Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve, Central Amazon floodplain, Brazil. Wetlands Ecology and Management, 23 (1), pp. 41-59. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11273-014-9359-1


dos Santos JS, Fontana DC, Silva TSF & Rudorff BFT (2014) Identificação da dinâmica espaço-temporal para estimar área cultivada de soja a partir de imagens MODIS no Rio Grande do Sul [Identification of the spatial and temporal dynamics for estimating soybean crop area from MODIS images in the Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil]. Revista Brasileira de Engenharia Agricola e Ambiental, 18 (1), pp. 54-63. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1415-43662014000100008

Conference Proceeding

Lima A, Moscardo A, Silva TSF, Leitold V, Coura S, Aragão LEOECD, Rudorff BFT, Formaggio AR & Shimabukuro YE (2012) Spatial-Temporal pattern of forest regeneration in areas deforested in the Eastern Amazon. In: volume 7. 2012 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, Munich, 22.07.2012-27.07.2012. IEEE, pp. 6283-6286. https://doi.org/10.1109/IGARSS.2012.6352695



GEOU9IS - Geographical Information Systems ENMPG11 - Geomatics SCIU4T4 - Statistical Techniques (module collaborator) BIOU6PE - Plant Ecology (module collaborator)

Research programmes

Research centres/groups

Research themes