I graduated from the University of São Paulo in 1994, with a Bachelors degree in Biological Sciences. Ever since then, I have been working in the Amazon, initially as a research assistant at the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project (INPA and Smithsonian Institution), in Manaus, where I later conducted research for my Masters degree in Ecology at the University of Missouri-Saint Louis, in the United States.
As a tropical ecologist, I had the opportunity to carry out research projects also in Barro Colorado Island, Panama, Luquillo National Forest, Puerto Rico, and La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica. I then lived in Belem, at the mouth of the Amazon river, as the Academic Director of the Amazon Resource Management and Human Ecology Program of the School for International Training (SIT). The work for SIT inspired me to create the Escola da Amazônia (the School of Amazonia), an educational organization whose mission is to inform the Brazilian society – students and educators on the deforestation frontier in particular – about the importance of conservation (Whitley Awards 2007). Alongside this, I coordinated the Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Pantanal Conservation Program from 2002 to 2005. My experience with education in Amazonia and conflicts between ranchers and jaguars in the Pantanal has provided the background for the People and Jaguars Coexistence Project.