Pedro Cardoso

I am curator at the Finnish Museum of Natural History (arachnids, myriapods and terrestrial molluscs) and adjunct professor in Ecology at the University of Helsinki. Also chair of the IUCN’s Spider & Scorpion Specialist Group. My research interests go from biogeography and conservation to spider taxonomy and artificial intelligence. Mail: pedro.cardoso (at) (Research Gate – Google Scholar – Tuhat)


Nuria Macias-Hernandez

I am a postdoctoral researcher funded by a Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellowship at the Finnish Museum of Natural History, (University of Helsinki) and at the Island Ecology and Evolution Research Group (IPNA-CSIC) since October 2016. My main research interest is the study of evolutionary biology, focuses in adaptive radiations by combining molecular and morphological approaches. I have been working mostly in phylogeny, phylogeography, morphology, prey preferences and nutritional experiments, besides molecular prey detection approaches with the spider genus Dysdera in the Canary Islands. My current research project aims reveal which are the main drivers of biodiversity in different biogeographical areas and ecosystems (islands vs. continents) by analysing the different components of biodiversity (taxonomic (TD), phylogenetic (PD) and functional diversity (FD)), using spiders as model organisms. Mail: nemaciash(at) (Google Scholar)

Caroline Fukushima

I have finished a postoctoral project in Instituto Butantan (Brazil) about the diversity of mygalomorph spiders in a Brazilian biome and received a Ph.D. degree in Zoology from the University of São Paulo (USP), Brazil, studying taxonomy and systematics of tarantulas. I have been working with evolution, taxonomy, ecology, natural history and behavior of arachnids since I was an undergrad student. My research interests since I became part of LIBRe are related to the trade of live tarantulas and scorpions through social media and its impact on wild populations as well as the inclusion of some tarantula species on the Red List of Threatened Species. (ResearchGateGoogle Scholar)

Marco Girardello

I have received a Ph.D. degree in quantitative ecology from the University of Newcastle (UK). I am currently working as a post-doc within the MACDIV project funded by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT; Foundation for Science and Technology). My research interests span a number of different topics within the fields of macroecology and conservation biogeography. These include: i) explaining the distribution of species at large spatial scales from landscape to continental, and understanding the processes by which these distributions change over time ii) understanding the role of current and historical environmental conditions affect geographical patterns of biodiversity across large spatial scales. I also have a keen interest in the application of quantitative methods to ecology. As part of the MACDIV project, I will be investigating how spatial, historical and environmental factors influence different facets of spider diversity across Macaronesia.

PhD students

Filipe Chichorro de Carvalho

I am a PhD student at the Finnish Museum of Natural History, University of Helsinki, since July 2016 and supported by Kone Foundation. My main objective is to predict the extinction risk of species for which we lack abundance and geographical data, by looking at their biological and ecological traits. It involves playing around with simulations through agent-based modelling and, probably later on, with the exciting field of artificial intelligence too! (Research Gate – Google Scholar – Tuhat)

Rui Carvalho

I’m a PhD student funded by he Azorean government and based in the University of the Azores (Portugal). My focus is on the exciting and relatively new field of Recreation Ecology – study of the environmental consequences of outdoor recreation/nature-based tourism activities and their effective management. My thesis aims to explore the impact that pedestrian trails located in Azorean Laurel Forest cause on this ecosystem’s integrity. With this information, together with manipulative experiments where I will test some trail maintenance solutions, I will use Agent Based Modeling tools to predict the impact deriving from different degrees of touristic pressure and of different trail management options. (Research Gate)

Luis Carlos Crespo

My previously published works include new spider species descriptions from the Azores and Madeira, faunistic studies in Madeira archipelago and the extinction risk assessment of the emblematic species Hogna ingens. Currently, I am a PhD student at the University of Barcelona supported by FCT (Portugal). I am conducting an integrative taxonomy study on Madeiran endemic spiders, with special focus on the genera Dysdera and Hogna. For this I intend to perform phylogenetic analyses of several genes, karyotype analysis, geometric morphometrics and other areas currently used to approach evolutionary insights on species-rich taxa in the Macaronesian archipelagos.

 Joana Ferreira

I am a biologist and an ecological economist working at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) as part of the Land Economy, Society and Environment research group. Recent research has focused on uptake of sustainable practices in agriculture and on the determinants of conservation behaviour (including values and attitudes) regarding biodiversity, water consumption and food waste. I have been awarded a joint SRUC and University of Edinburgh NERC DTP PhD scholarship (starting September 2017) to develop research on arthropod conservation in agricultural landscapes; particularly, on how farmer decision-making regarding the adoption of arthropod-friendly practices and its biodiversity outcomes can be modelled.

Sergio Henriques

I am a London NERC DTP student doing my PhD at the University College London, in partnership with the Zoological Society of London and the University of Helsinki. My current research aims to overcome sampling biases in the IUCN Red List by empirically investigating how to derive the best possible sampling regime to allow Red List assessments to reflect extinction risk patterns in megadiverse taxa. Specifically assessing the applicability of the Sampled Red List Index to megadiverse taxa with limited data availability, such as arachnids. To achieve this I am using data from a number of completely assessed species groups, systematic bibliographic review (data mining), predictive modelling, simulations through agent-based modelling and with deep learning. (Research Gate, Google Scholar)

Marija Milicic

I am a PhD student, Research Assistant at the Department of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Novi Sad, and a scholarship holder of Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia. Focus of my research is prediction of extinction risk based on species distribution models and functional traits, with the primary aim of species conservation. (Research Gate – Google Scholar)

Rui Nunes

I am a PhD student at the University of the Azores, supported by the DRCT (Azores, Portugal). I am currently working with the arthropod communities in the canopies of the native Azorean forests. My main goals are to study the taxonomic and functional diversity of these communities, as well as their structure. Since I’m using for the first time in the archipelago a sampling protocol with pyrethroid fogging, I am also able to study the re-colonisation processes that drive these same communities after defaunation. (Research Gate)

Dinarte Teixeira

I am a biologist at the Institute of Forests and Nature Conservation IP-RAM (Madeira Government, Portugal). My research interests go from biogeography and island ecology to terrestrial molluscs taxonomy and conservation. I am currently involved in two LIFE projects on Madeira and Desertas Islands (Madeira archipleago), being co-responsible for the monitoring and conservation actions directed to the endemic land snails species. I am also a board member at the Portuguese Institute of Malacology and a member of IUCN Mid-Atlantic Islands Invertebrate Specialist Group. (Research GateGoogle Scholar)

MSc students

Jon Rikberg

I am a student from University of Helsinki currently working with my master’s thesis on plants’ threat assessments. I am especially interested in conservation issues and how climate change affects the northern ecosystems. Also, birds have always hold a special place in my heart. (Research Gate)


Sini Seppala

I am an MSc student at the Finnish Museum of Natural History, University of Helsinki. I am fascinated by all kinds of arthropods, especially by spiders. In my thesis I focus on the assessments of spiders and evaluating the extinction risk of this megadiverse taxa as part of a research project led by the IUCN Spider & Scorpion Specialist Group working on the Sampled Red List Index for spiders.


Pedro Ceríaco

I’m a visiting MSc student at the Finnish Museum of Natural History, Helsinki, and I will be developing my thesis work on spiders of Serra da Estrela, Portugal. My fascination for these animals derives from the various forms, habits and behaviors found within the group. My main goal is to add to the scientific knowledge about spiders, discover new species and understand their various interactions within the ecosystem.

Cândida Ramos

I just finished my Master’s degree in Ecology and Environment in University of Porto, and now I’m coming to the Finnish Museum of Natural History under the Erasmus+ internship program. The main objective of my work will be to compare the community assembly of forest spiders on islands and continents. For that, I will take some morphometrics measures on spiders to make a comparative functional diversity analysis across different settings (islands vs. continents) and trying to disentangle environmental filtering versus competitive exclusion as two opposing forces driving community structure, using null models.

Vaughn Shirey

I am a visiting MSc student at the Finnish Museum of Natural History, University of Helsinki, from August 2017 – May 2018 supported by a Fulbright Grant from the United States and Finland. My interests include biodiversity informatics, arthropod biogeography, and functional ecology. For my current research, I am focusing on the Finnish node of GBIF (FinBIF) as well as citizen science data in order to understand if and how public participation in biodiversity observation augments existing natural history records and, in turn, biodiversity/biogeographic analyses.


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