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16th Global Online Seminar in Biodiversity Informatics

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Posted by: townpeterson on Nov 13, 2016

Past, Present, and Future Climate Predictions for Biogeographers: The EcoClimate Database

Sara Varela and Matheus Ribeiro

Background material: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0129037 

Sara started her research career as a field palaeontologist, working in mainly in Gran Dolina, Atapuerca, Spain, but collaborating in other excavations, such as Pinilla del Valle (Late Pleistocene) and Maltravieso (Late Pleistocene) in Spain, El caño (Pleistocene) in Uruguay or Dmanisi (Plio-Pleistocene) in the Republic of Georgia. She completed her Ph.D. at the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC) in Madrid, Spain, under the supervision of Jorge Lobo, with whom she analyzed the spotted hyena extinction event in Europe, relating this extinction to the past glacial-interglacial cycles. After that, she worked as a postdoc at the University of Castilla La-Mancha, in Toledo, studying effects of current global warming on endangered plant species in central Spain with Federico Fernández. She continued her work on Pleistocene extinctions joining a European research project with David Storch in Prague. Currently, she is working at the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, Spain, with Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, and collaborating with Faysal Bibi and Johannes Müller at the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, Germany. Sara’s research follows three main themes: (1) analyze extinction events and temporal faunal turnover, (2) improve methods for studying spatial ecology (particularly ecological niche models), and (3) program new open tools to obtain data from open-access Internet databases. Her publications can be found at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sara_Varela and http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=8dckI70AAAAJ&hl=es. Her R scripts and packages are at https://github.com/SaraVarela. 

Matheus is a biologist (bachelors degree 2002), with a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution (2013), and is now a professor at the Federal University of Goiás, in Jataí city, Brazil. His research interests include issues in paleobiology, biogeography, and macroecology. Matheus has focused on analyzing climate change effects on biodiversity patterns (e.g., extinction, speciation, species richness) through geological time by integrating ecological models, fossil data, and paleoclimatic simulations. Besides connecting important research fields currently in progress, this integrated approach has been an excellent playground to improve theoretical models and expand databases, from which EcoClimate arose. The scope of his work yielded him the Capes Thesis Award in 2014, the highest Brazilian award in science.

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