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Azorean Biodiversity Group, Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of the Azores

Rua Capitão João D'Avila 9700-042 Angra do Heroísmo

Terceira, Azores, Portugal

Telephone 926 68 55 23

Email lucaslamelaslopez@gmail.com

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Island Biodiversity, Biogeography & Conservation - IBBC
Island Arthropod Macroecology

Lucas Lamelas López

PhD Student

I am a member of the Azorean Biodiversity Group (GBA) and the Center for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes (CE3C) since 2013. Since then I have finished my degree and master thesis in the areas of conservation biology, biodiversity and ecology of aquatic macroinvertebrates. At the same time, I have developed several projects based in non-invasive sampling techniques (camera-trapping), focused on the study of introduced mammal ecology, seabird conservation and vertebrate impacts in viticultural systems.

Currently I am doing my doctoral thesis "Mammal introductions on oceanic islands across a human disturbance gradient: conservation implications for the Azores islands" funded by the Fundação para à Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT). The main aim of this project is to test the hypotheses that i) different levels of habitat heterogeneity and agriculture intensification, and ii) different ecological interactions at the community-level, will have distinct impacts on the community structure of introduced mammals (rodents, carnivores, rabbits and hedgehogs). The prediction is that the several species of mammals will respond distinctively to the structure of the landscape, the land-use intensification and the spatial variation of resources, being also dependent on the ecological interactions established among co-occurring species. We also predict that agriculture-related disturbance increases predation pressure over native biodiversity and some species may respond differently to island characteristics depending on biological interactions. The specific objectives of the project are (1) Develop  habitat suitability models, based on land use and human disturbance factors and obtained data on the distribution and relative abundance for all introduced mammal species; (2) Quantify the impact of introduced mammals on indigenous seabird populations (Sterna spp.) on islands with different degrees of human disturbance; and (3) Development of a computer model of ecological interactions, that will allow to predict population responses of introduced mammal species to changes in habitat management and support decision making regarding management strategies of these species.

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