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José Carlos Brito

José Carlos Brito

Principal Researcher

Principal Researcher
Member type
CIBIO-InBIO, Universidade do Porto, Campus de Vairão, Rua Padre Armando Quintas. 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal
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My early scientific activities as technician at Lisbon University (1994-1998) addressed the distribution and conservation of an Iberian endemic lizard. Innovative research was focused on the early use of Species Distribution Models (SDM) and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for biogeographical analyses and conservation planning. 

Research made during the PhD thesis in Biological Sciences at the University of Lisbon (1998-2003) aimed at the biological characterisation of a threatened and relatively unknown Iberian viperid snake for conservation planning. I engaged as a post-doctoral researcher at CIBIO-InBIO (University of Porto; 2003-2006) collaborations with Spanish, Moroccan, Algerian and Serbian researchers to expand studies on vipers. 

Research combined Geostatistics, GIS and SDM for studying biogeographic patterns and evolutionary processes at multiple scales using morphological and molecular markers. | During the second post-doctoral grant at CIBIO-InBIO (2006-2008), followed by a Ciência contract (2008-2012), and presently by a Programme ON.2 contract (NSRF-ERDF; 2013-2015) at InBIO Associate Laboratory (LA), I have expanded research to the deserts and arid regions of North-West Africa and the Mediterranean Basin, focusing on three main topics: biodiversity distribution, evolutionary and landscape processes, and conservation planning. Innovative research using contemporary spatial and molecular tools has been developed in the Sahara-Sahel, a region poorly known but where biodiversity hotspots are found in isolated mountain-sky islands. | The research efforts have been rewarded with increasingly exceptional achievements during the last 10 years and include:

i) Successful guidance of 24 scientific expeditions to the Sahara-Sahel since 2000, totalling over 700 workdays and 170,000km, partially in remote areas (;

ii) Attraction of competitive national/international funding, including FCT-projects, two grants by the prestigious National Geographic Society, and a research contract by the European Space Agency for supporting the Convention on Biological Diversity (;

iii) Publication of over 100 papers in multiple scientific and science dissemination journals;

iv) Advanced training of human resources, including PhD, MSc theses and internship thesis, and research technicians;

v) Internationalisation of research, with on-going collaborations with multiple European, American, Australian and African Universities, governmental institutions, and NGOs;

vi) Extended out-reach activities, including interviews about desert biodiversity to TV, radio and newspapers, and maintenance of Facebook and YouTube channels dedicated to BIODESERTS group. 

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