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Sara Maria Lopes dos Santos

Sara Maria Lopes dos Santos

Post-Doc Researcher

Post-Doc Researcher
Member type
CIBIO-InBIO, Universidade de Évora, Casa Cordovil 2ª Andar, Rua Dr. Joaquim Henrique da Fonseca, 7000-890 Évora, Portugal

My main research area of interest is wildlife ecology and conservation, particularly applied to small mammals. Previously to my PhD I studied physiology, habitat selection, and vegetation composition of colonies of Cabrera voles in several areas of southern Portugal (Grândola, Alandroal, Mora, and Montemor-o-Novo). During my PhD, I investigated the distribution and co-occurrence patterns of two sister species of pine voles, Microtus duodecimcostatus and M. lusitanicus, in Portugal. Within this study, the environmental preferences of both species were analysed and compared at different spatial scales. I first focused on the national distribution of the two species, and then sampled both species in a zone of sympatry and parapatry around the São Mamede mountain (Portalegre district) in order to assess the relative contributions of local vs. landscape scale factors to the regional distribution of each species. At a local scale, the patterns of space use of the Lusitanian pine vole were investigated with radio-telemetry in a Mediterranean polyculture (Tomar district).

Since 2011 I'm a post-doctoral researcher working on the effects of roads on wildlife. In particular, I'm interested in assessing the barrier effect of roads to animal movements and how these structures influence landscape functional connectivity and regional population persistence. Specifically I intend to assess how roads affect populations persistence, and which life-history traits make species more vulnerable to the impacts of roads, using both real and virtual species.

I am also interested in studying the effects of methods used on mortality numbers and spatial patterns when conducting/planning roadkill surveys. In particular, I have focused on the effects of different sampling frequencies on the numbers of carcasses counted and on the spatial accuracy of roadkill hotspots for several taxonomic groups.

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