I’m a biologist with an MSc degree in Botany and currently a PhD candidate in Botany from the Universidade Federal de Viçosa (UFV), Brazil. Throughout my academic career, I developed research projects mainly focused on forest succession, biodiversity conservation, carbon mitigation, ecosystem functioning and restoration of Brazilian Atlantic forests. During my bachelors I got a scholarship to spend a year at the Radboud University Nijmegen as an exchange student in the Water and Environment Master’s program, which was when my specific research interest in forest succession started. This experience, along with my short internship in the Department of Experimental Plant Ecology, inspired me to keep doing research on tropical plant ecology and to study the capacity of Brazilian Atlantic forests to regenerate naturally, inspired by the great loss of Atlantic forest cover in Brazil. In my Bachelor thesis, I assessed the changes over time (dynamics) in forest structure, species richness and composition of four Atlantic forests at different successional stages (one early-, two mid- and one late-successional forest).
Afterwards, in my Masters, I carried out research to assess the effects of disturbance and succession on forest structure, species diversity and composition and soil properties in order to investigate the resilience potential of second-growth Atlantic forests, estimating the time they would take to reach old-growth forest values.
Currently, I’m working on my PhD thesis in cooperation with Professor Lourens Poorter and the Post-doc Masha van der Sande. With my research, I am to understand and predict the resilience potential of high-diversity nutrient-poor lowland Atlantic forests to human-driven disturbances and investigate the main drivers behind Atlantic forest recovery. I use space-for-time substitution and trait-based approaches to assess the effects of (i) landscape context, (ii) anthropogenic disturbance and (iii) edaphic-climatic conditions on tree community assembly and function.