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Professor Ciro Rico

image_Prof. RicoProfessor Ciro Rico is Head of the School of Marine Studies at USP. He is an expert on molecular ecology with 25 years of experience. He has attracted over 4 million euros in 12 scientific projects as Principal Investigator and has participated in another 12 projects as Co-Investigator. He has published 70 scientific papers in international, peer-reviewed journals, most of them in Q1 ISI journals which collectively have been cited over 2600 times with an h-index of 28 and a 10-index of 48. He is member of the editorial board of Molecular Ecology and Scientific Reports. He has supervised the theses of 14 postgraduate students (10 PhD and 4 MSc). His long-term scientific mission is twofold; first, to understand the mechanisms responsible for the generation and maintenance of biodiversity and second, to promote the understanding of the consequences of the ecology and microevolutionary processes affecting living organisms and their implications in the conservation of natural renewable resources. His research mission is focused on evolutionary and conservation questions rather than on a particular ecosystem or organism. Prof Rico regards species, populations and ecosystems as models to address consequential questions in ecology, evolution and conservation with an aim to integrate these disciplines for the sustainable management of marine wild and mariculture resources.

Four areas constitute the fundamental focus of his research program. First, by combining ecological and evolutionary genetics data and theory, I study the mechanisms responsible for generation and maintenance of biodiversity. Secondly, he studies the spatial and temporal genetic structure of populations of marine taxa with the aim to contribute to the decision making process concerning the delineation of the boundaries of evolutionary significant and management units and to determine connectivity and gene flow patterns in the ocean with the aim to assist the establishment of Marine Protected Areas. Thirdly, he is also interested in elucidating the response and adaptation of non-indigenous marine invasive species (NIS) to new environments. The aim is to discover how NIS responds to differential abiotic and biotic environmental conditions that may allow them to successfully colonise new environments. Finally, he is interested in understanding the relationship between functional genetic diversity and neutral genetic diversity. Understanding the extent to which functional genetic variation is affected by processes known to affect neutral diversity is central to this (i.e. it is important to examine the relative roles of genetic drift and selection in maintaining variation at functional loci). It is also important in conservation science and in evolutionary biology to assess the extent to which populations are locally adapted.


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