Project team

A. Márcia Barbosa, PhD (Principal Investigator)


I was awarded this project grant and put together a small team and some basic equipment to assess historical and environmental drivers of European vertebrate distribution and diversity; develop practical tools to evaluate the accuracy of species distribution models and perform a range of other (macro)ecological analyses; and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of analyses and conservation plans. As a sub-project derived from the need for species distribution data, we also made an atlas of mammals in Portugal. The goals were ambitious and the budget was tight, but using (and producing) free and open-source software allowed us to optimize means and successfully achieve results. You can find out about other projects and outputs at my webpage.


Alba Estrada, PhD (1st hired researcher)


Alba was hired for this project (among 33 people who applied for this position) due to her skills and experience in data gathering and organization, species distribution modelling, basic programming in R, and phylogeographic comparative methods. Her input yielded several communications at scientific conferences, one chapter in a scientific peer-reviewed book, some bug fixes to the fuzzySim and modEvA R packages, and scientific articles which are now published or in press. Find out more at our Outputs page and at Alba’s ResearchGate page.


Joana Bencatel, MSc (2nd hired researcher)


Joana was the second addition to the project team. She was hired (among 9 people who applied for this position) for her skills and experience in exhaustive data gathering, geographical databases and webGIS, and scientific documentation with LaTeX typesetting. She compiled a baseline inventory of the extent of our knowledge regarding mammal distributions in Portugal (filling a crucial gap in vertebrate distributional knowledge in western Europe) which led to the publication of the first Atlas of Mammals in Portugal. She also participated in conference communications, a book chapter and a couple of scientific articles. Find out more at our Outputs page and at Joana’s ResearchGate page.


Helena Sabino-Marques, MSc (3rd hired researcher)


Helena was the last addition to the team, joining it for the last 12 months of the project. She was hired (among 12 people who applied for this position) to maintain and develop the database behind the Atlas of Mammals in Portugal, disseminate the atlas in publications and social media, coordinate the gathering of new data, and assist in preparing the second edition of the atlas. You can find out more about Helena at her ResearchGate page.


STUDENTS (references of their theses here)

André Pereira (multi-scale relationships between herptile diversity and human influence, 2014)

Luís G. Sousa (use of amphibians in the conservation assessment of Mediterranean ponds, 2015)

Joana Areias-Guerreiro (Lutra lutra distribution prediction in space an time, 2016)

Joana Bencatel (distributions of Portuguese mammalian carnivores, 2016)

Lenin Lara-Galván (distribution and conservation of Mexican rattlesnakes, 2018)



Onur Uluar (Erasmus internship, integrating phylogeography and species distribution modelling of Sylvia atricapilla in Europe, 2016)

Rocío Baquero (post-doctoral research visit, modelling invasive species distributions in Spain, 2017)

Francesca Cosentino (Torno Subito research stay, modelling the global distribution of Galemys pyrenaicus, 2018)