I am a conservation ecologist striving to understand the mechanistic bases of how biodiversity responds to changes in their environment. Currently based at the Universities of Aveiro and Iceland as a post-doctoral researcher, I address fundamental issues such as variation on demographic rates, range and habitat changes and phenological responses to climate change, as well as, applied questions in particular, consequences of organic loading on costal systems and impacts of agricultural expansion in sub-arctic environments, using migratory birds as study models.

Arctic and sub-arctic shorebirds are an ideal group in which to investigate responses to environmental change, as climatic change on their breeding grounds is increasingly apparent and their costal wintering areas are subjected to increasing levels of directly anthropogenic habitat change (e.g. land claim, pollution and resource exploitation). My research on this group of species inevitably placed me on the path of Theunis, with whom I have been collaborating over the past decade.

I deploy several approaches to study these topics particularly by developing long term datasets on the timing key events of the annual cycle (e.g. migration, breeding) and linking this to environmental and demographic parameters (breeding success, survival rates, recruitment rates); by using tracking technologies to follow specific individuals across very large spatial scales (e.g. Geolocators, and GPS/GSM tags); and by combining environmental and individual behavioural data in dynamic models to access fitness trade-offs between distinct strategies.

You can find more information on my website and keep up to date via @_JoseAAlves_.

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Icelandic Golden Plover chick demonstrating how its future is in our hands. Photo: Verónica Mendez

Profile photo: Véronica Mendez