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Graduate Spotlight



Lucas Medeiros: Graduate Spotlight

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Lucas Medeiros: Graduate Spotlight

Hometown: São Paulo, Brazil

Degree program: PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering, May 2022

Advisor: Professor Serguei Saavedra

How did you first become interested in Civil and Environmental Engineering?

Many ecosystems such as tropical forests and coral reefs are currently threatened due to increasing human-driven perturbations (e.g., deforestation, fires, overfishing, global warming). I became interested in my current research in ecology as a way to understand how ecosystems respond to such perturbations. By doing so, I hope to contribute to how we manage and protect these ecosystems in order to preserve the important services they provide to humanity (e.g., carbon sequestration, climate regulation, food security).

What is your area of research?

In my PhD, I aim to learn new insights about ecosystems by studying how they respond to different types of perturbations. I combine methods from population dynamics, nonlinear time series analysis with empirical data to better understand and quantify the response of entire ecosystems and of the individual species that compose them. Ultimately, the capacity of ecosystems and their species to resist to and recover from perturbations is what will guarantee the ongoing provision of ecosystem services.

Why did you choose this research focus? Was there something that inspired you or did you always have this interest from a young age?

I grew up in Brazil and have a background in Biology and Mathematics. After finishing my Master’s in Ecology, I decided to continue to do research in quantitative ecology but also to think about potential applications of my research. What I like about MIT CEE is that it tackles fundamental problems in ecology and environmental science, always with an eye towards applications. It is a highly motivating environment to learn, collaborate, and do research that aims to have an impact on the world.

What are your hobbies or interests?

Outside of research, I enjoy exploring nature and outdoor sports (e.g., hiking, biking, swimming). I am also a big music fan and have fun playing guitar and listening to live music (e.g., Brazilian, jazz, classical).