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 dynamics and functioning of ecosystems respond to natural environmental variability and anthropogenic change. My methods range from in situ data acquisition and observational experiments to large scale analyses using geomatics (remote sensing, GIS , spatial analysis), usually associated with empirical statistical modeling and machine learning. I am particularly interested in characterizing the influence of community and landscape dynamics on ecological and biogeochemical processes, and to understand the possible effects of climate change and human activities on the distribution, structure, diversity and phenology of plant communities in hydrologically seasonal environments (wetlands, grasslands, and dry forests). I am also keenly interested in developing new methods and technologies for ecosystem observation and monitoring, such as unmanned aerial systems and ecological 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 act 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.

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