The Amazon Forest is one of the Earth’s most important ecosystems: it accounts for c.50% of all remaining rainforests, while housing at least 10% of all known biodiversity on the planet. Understanding how Amazonian ecosystems respond to multiple climatic and local human-driven disturbances is therefore essential to achieve global conservation targets and sustainable goals.
Method: This project relies on a database of biodiversity data from >12,000 forest and freshwater sites across the Brazilian Amazon, which were gathered by an international network of >250 scientists that are part of the Synergize project. The student will link this biodiversity data to land use and land cover maps from the MapBiomas Project (http://mapbiomas.org/) and information on temperature, rainfall and other environmental conditions to understand the drivers of biodiversity at an unprecedented scale.
Contribution to knowledge and impact: Your PhD research will help elucidate if disturbance-driven changes in biodiversity vary across distinct fauna groups, biogeographic regions, and ecosystems in Amazonia, as well as the post-disturbance trajectory and drivers of forest and freshwater biodiversity. In the late stages of the project, you will also be able to evaluate if local biodiversity changes are scalable to land-use transitions across the Amazonian biome. In doing so, you will produce timely and needed scientific evidence to inform the decision-making within one of Earth’s most hyperdiverse regions.
Keywords: Amazonia, biodiversity, spatial patterns, data analysis, forest degradation.