Earthwatch Scientist, Felipe Melo, Ph.D.

Felipe Melo, Ph.D.

Nottingham Trent University

I am a Brazilian ecologist based in the UK with experience in landscape ecology, biological conservation, and restoration ecology. I have contributed to the academic and policy arena by doing applied ecological and conservation research focusing on tropical ecosystems. I have worked in close partnership with NGOs and governments to develop public policies oriented to strengthen community-led conservation and restoration efforts. My previous studies were conducted in Brazil and Mexico, mostly in tropical dry and wet forests.

Why are you interested in your research focus?

My research is guided by the following question: How to manage and restore social-ecological landscapes? To answer this question, I draw on natural sciences' theoretical and analytical tools and the social-ecological systems (SES) framework. I am interested in all kinds of interactions between biodiversity and human activities that take place in working landscapes such as rangelands, farmlands, peri-urban, and fragmented landscapes. My research goals are shared between basic and applied sciences with a strong interdisciplinary integration. My contributions to basic sciences cover functional ecology, forest regrowth, plant species assembly, plant-animal interactions, biological invasion, and landscape ecology. In terms of applied sciences, I’ve been producing work on using natural resources, ecological restoration, political ecology, and conservation sciences.

What is one of your favorite moments in the field?

During my Master’s in 2002, I took part in a 30-day field course in Ecology of the Amazonian Forest offered by the Smithsonian Institution—USA and the National Institute of Amazonian Research—Brazil. I was then presented with my favorite learning and teaching experience based on ‘learning by doing’ and ‘project-based learning’ methods. After obtaining my Ph.D., I coordinated, co-organized, or participated as an invited teacher in nearly 30 field courses of ecology and conservation across many states of Brazil and Mexico, all following the same method of problem-solving learning. Therefore, I had plenty of opportunities to practice my teaching methods and philosophy and deliver a high-quality experience to students.


I received my Ph.D. in Biological Sciences in 2009 at the National Autonomous University of México. Since then, I have been conducting world-class research on diverse aspects of applied ecology and biodiversity conservation, generating impactful contributions to academia and society. I was a Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor (equivalent) in Applied Ecology at the Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil. Now, I am an Associate Professor in Restoration Ecology at the Nottingham Trent University—UK. I have consolidated experience conducting cutting-edge research, teaching, and mentoring in ecology and conservation-related disciplines, strongly emphasizing land use changes and landscape ecology.

Back to all Scientists

Upcoming Expeditions

Sign up for the Earthwatch Newsletter

Be the first to know about new expeditions, stories from the field, and exciting Earthwatch news.