Tina Christmann (Imma Oliveras)

Tina is a German-Italian phD student passionate about the interactions between vegetation, climate and biodiversity. Her project investigates how  ecosystem restoration in tropical mountains can be improved and how it can be monitored with satellite data. Specifically, she plans to apply her research on understudied tropical montane ecosystems, such as alpine grasslands and montane cloud forests, to fill knowledge gaps in restoration research.   Tina speaks six languages, has modelling skills in various software and likes to combine methodologies in a creative way. Prior to her DPhil, Tina studied the functional ecology and conservation of tropical montane ecosystems in South America's Atlantic Forest, as well as the phenology of urban grasslands in response to climate change.  

Contact:  tina.christmann@worc.ox.ac.uk

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Trisha Gopalakrishna (Yadvinder Malhi)

Tradeoffs and synergies between climate change mitigation, biodiversity and water on restoration of tropical forests.
Trisha's doctoral research explores the tradeoffs and synergies between climate change mitigation, biodiversity and water services following restoration of tropical forests. Her research aims to inform the design, implementation and monitoring of successful and scalable restoration efforts that provide multiple ecosystem services under scenarios of future climate change.  Before starting her doctorate studies at the School of Geography and Environment, Trisha worked as an Applied Scientist in the Global Climate Change program at The Nature Conservancy (Washington D.C), quantifying the potential for forest systems and other Natural Climate Solutions to mitigate climate change. Trisha is an Oxford-Indira Gandhi 2019 Scholar at the Oxford India Center for Sustainable Development, Somerville College.
Contact:  trisha.gopalakrishna@ouce.ox.ac.uk

Walter Huaraca Huasco (Yadvinder Malhi)

Fine root dynamics and morphological traits in tropical rainforests ecosystems

Walter is a plant biologist with particular interest in tropical forest ecosystems functioning and plant response to climate change.  In 2006, he joined to the Amazon Forest Inventory Network (RAINFOR) and Global Ecosystem Monitoring Network (GEM) to research the forest functional traits of plants in Peruvian Andes, Amazon forests, and Malaysian Bornean Forest. His current research seeks to understand the belowground dynamics across the pantropical forest and whether a common environmental framework can explain root dynamics across the tropical forests, ie is there a single unified model of fine root dynamics across the tropics? Walter is also involved in adopting new techniques to assess the fine root dynamics in different types of forests of the Global Ecosystem Monitoring Network plots.
Contact:  walter.huaracahuasco@ouce.ox.ac.uk


Victoria Maguire-Rajpaul (Yadvinder Malhi, Constance McDermott, & Mark Hirons)


How can cocoa smallholders adapt and sustain their livelihoods in the face of climate shocks?

Victoria’s research is on sustainable agriculture in tropical and savannah landscapes. She is concerned with sustaining rural livelihoods, political ecology, the geographies of commodities, and farmers’ adaptive capacity in the face of climate shocks. Her research asks: how can food and forest challenges be resiliently met with the least cost to human suffering, biodiversity, ecosystem health, and tree cover? Her DPhil focuses on the socio-ecological limits of intensifying production of the commodity crop of cocoa and how cocoa farmers can adapt to droughts.

Contact:  victoria.maguirerajpaul@ouce.ox.ac.uk

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Laura Picot (Yadvinder Malhi/Connie McDermott)
DTP in Environmental Research
Gender, smallholder food crops and climate resilience in Ghana

Laura researches how Ghanaian farmers’ gender and intersectional identities shape household resilience to climate change and other shocks. She focuses on the role that food crops play in household economies, markets and food security. Her intersectional approach to gender explores the importance of further identities such as age, ethnicity, wealth and position in the household. Laura uses a mixed methods approach that draws upon her experience in both the natural and social sciences. She combines qualitative interviews with quantitative analysis of survey and climate data. She was awarded funding through the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) doctoral studentship. Laura is passionate about improving equity in research and academia and has advised on anti-racist initiatives across the University of Oxford. Prior to her DPhil, Laura was a sustainability and international development consultant. She worked on land use, gender and development, and green finance projects across policy and private sectors. 

Contact:  laura.picot@merton.ox.ac.uk


Sean Reilly (Imma Oliveras)

An integrative approach to fire management in California


Sean’s research interests lie in the role ecological science plays in real-world decision-making. He is currently working on understanding perceptions and significance of different methods for determining fire risk as they relate to land management decisions for risk mitigation. His research combines qualitative interviews with land managers with remote sensing and ground based field techniques. His work is based in the forests of California, USA.
Contact:  sean.reilly@worc.ox.ac.uk

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Frank Sperling (Yadvinder Malhi)
Green Growth, Climate Change, Disaster Risk Management and Resilience Building, REDD+ and AFOLU


After years of working in development cooperation for international organizations, Frank recently joined the team to conduct research into the conceptualizations of the Anthropocene, green growth and the arising implications for sustainable development pathways. His prior professional work has focused on mainstreaming adaptation to climate change into development policies and practices, sustainable land management, performance based payment systems for natural resource management, and the operationalization of green growth in African development contexts. He has worked on various programs and project initiatives in South America, Africa and South East Asia.

Contact: frank.sperling@ouce.ox.ac.uk

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Rodrigo Béllo Carvalho (Imma Oliveras/ Yadvinder Malhi)

Frugivory and Seed Dispersal Networks in the Brazilian Cerrado: Ecological Insights and Conservation Challenges


Rodrigo is a field biologist passionate about wildlife ecology and conservation. He undertakes his master's in Biodiversity Conservation and Management at the University of Oxford, under the supervision of Dr Imma Oliveras and Prof. Yadvinder Malhi. For his dissertation, he investigates how the seed dispersal networks are assembled and structured in the Brazilian Cerrado. He also evaluates how the defaunation of large-bodied vertebrates - such as tapirs, maned wolves, agoutis, macaws, and toucans - is affecting the biome's plant-frugivore networks. He is broadly interested in animal and plant ecology, especially at the community-ecosystem level. At the moment, his research focus has been on the ecology of vertebrate-plant interactions, and the related aspects of their conservation. He is interested in pursuing a PhD and is actively looking for opportunities.

Contact: rodrigo.bellocarvalho@spc.ox.ac.uk 

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Huanyuan Zhang (Yadvinder Malhi/Sami Rifai/Iain Colin Prentice, Imperial College London)
Calculate tropical NPP by upscaling empirical findings from plot-level forest inventory to a larger scale

Huanyuan’s PhD project aims to upscale empirical findings from plot-level forest inventory to larger scale to calculate regional/continental NPP, and to apply and test the principle of evolutionary optimality in enabling this scaling. Huanyuan has special interest in applying mathematical modelling and remote sensing technique in studying the terrestrial carbon cycle.  Before coming to Oxford, Huanyuan completed a Bachelor Degree in Environmental science in China and an MRes on Environmental change at Imperial College London. Huanyuan previously worked on the CO2 fertilization effect on terrestrial ecosystem and land carbon sink modelling. Huanyuan is also a keen diver with interest in reef conservation.
Contact: huanyuan.zhang@ouce.ox.ac.uk


Eleanor Thomson (Yadvinder Malhi/Chris Doughty)

Mapping functional traits and ecosystem processes across the tropics using spectral remote sensing methods.


Eleanor’s research uses visible and infra-red reflectance to map leaf functional traits and relate them to ecosystem processes. She uses sensors attached to UAVs, aircraft and satellites to map ecosystem dynamics at the landscape scale. Her work is mainly focused on tropical forests in Ghana and Borneo, but she has applied similar methods to tundra ecosystems in Svalbard. Ultimately, she hopes to develop a satellite-based remote sensing product to measure and monitor tropical forest NPP, hosted by Google Earth Engine. 

Contact: eleanor.thomson@oriel.ox.ac.uk  Twitter: @EThomson90

Acheampong Atta-Boateng (Yadvinder Malhi/ Tonya Lander/ Thomas Wanger, Westlake University, China)

Ecology and physiology of plant systems' adaptations in modified ecosystems


Ache is broadly interested in how human mediated systems like agriculture and urbanization drive eco-evolution through phenotype expressions, environmental feedback strategies and symbiotic biological association. Cauliflory (flower & fruit growth on stems/branches) is thought as an adaptation to optimize cross-pollination or dispersal but can be physiologically costly as in cacao. Ache's DPhil seeks to elucidate the implication of optimizing cacao-pollinator interaction on economic productivity by linking physiological capacity and pollination ecology to pod yields. He's

also testing the effects of non-hormonal biostimulants (n-hB) in regulating premature fruit abortion (self-thinning). Prior to Oxford, he was research director at Yale Urban Ecology & Design Lab, investigating macrophyte thermal tolerance in engineered wetlands for urban cooling. He was also a research technician at the Plant Physiological Ecology Lab at Yale, working on physiological deterrents of citrus ACP vector, stomatal oscillation controls and n-hB growth promoters.


Contact:  acheampong.atta-boateng@gtc.ox.ac.uk


Carlota Segura-Garcia (Imma Oliveras) 

Environmental Research DTP 


Carlota is a PhD student in the Environmental Research DTP programme at the University of Oxford. She is interested in understanding the ways in which human land uses, particularly agriculture, disrupt the functioning of ecosystems. In her PhD project, Carlota is going to research the fire regimes of the Brazilian savannahs (the Cerrado) in the context of large-scale agricultural expansion and climate change using remote sensing data, statistical analysis, and modelling. She will also explore the effects of extreme climatic events like droughts and heatwaves on the Cerrado ecosystems and its fire regimes. 

Contact: carlota.seguragarcia@env-res.ox.ac.uk 


Ty Loft (Imma Oliveras/Mari Mulyani)

Forest Change and Environmental Governance Institutions in Post-Conflict Angola’s Dry Forests


Ty’s research investigates how Angola’s post-conflict, resource-dependent political economy shapes governance and environmental change within the Angola’s tropical dry forests. He plans to use remote sensing to map deforestation and degradation in Angola’s miombo woodlands. He hopes to combine quantitative sensing data with qualitative interview-based research that examines the historical development and path dependency of Angola’s forest governance institutions. Before Oxford, Ty worked on ocean security at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., and researched post-conflict national parks in Mozambique as an undergraduate at Georgetown University. He attends Oxford as a Joseph L. Allbritton Scholar.


Contact: ty.loft@bnc.ox.ac.uk

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Guilherme Costa Alvarenga

Jaguar ecology and conservation

Gui is a Brazilian biologist and holds a position as DPhil candidate in the Zoology Department at the University of Oxford. Since 2013, he has been working with jaguar (Panthera onca) ecology and conservation mainly in three research lines: (1) population dynamics, (2) habitat use, and (3) human-carnivore conflict.

During his doctorate, Gui will combine three areas of knowledge – movement ecology, human-carnivore conflict, and landscape analysis – developing the first landscape ecological modelled assessment of jaguar population connectivity across the entire geographical range of the species. Landscape modelling based on empirical data, such as GPS-collared animals, are important tools to understand how animals interact with the habitat and, for consequence, to direct conservation actions. His DPhil project, for instance, seeks to reduce anthropogenic impacts on jaguar populations by enlightening core jaguar habitats and key dispersal corridors, as well as testing how future human-induced alterations in the habitat may impact the species on the Continent. Gui's DPhil is a collaboration among WildCRU, Oxford Ecosystems and Mamirauá Institute, sponsored by WildCRU, WFA and WCN.



Jed Soleiman (Yadvinder Malhi)

Jed is passionate about ecological restoration and rewilding, and the intersection this shares with agriculture to improve outcomes for both people and the planet. He is currently working to understand the community structure and differing guilds of mycorrhiza between agricultural and rewilded plots, and how this might influence future efforts and decision making in conservation. Jed holds a BA in Geography from the University of Cambridge, and prior to beginning Oxford worked in circular economy, consulting on reusable packaging design and managing C-suite stakeholders. In his spare time, Jed is also a keen gardener and forager who loves to share his passions with anyone who’s keen to listen!


Jed’s contact: jed.soleiman@ouce.ox.ac.uk