We are delighted to welcome Tadeu Siqueira to the Journal of Applied Ecology Senior Editor team. Get to know the newest person behind the decision letters in this ‘Meet the Editor’ conversation.
What can you tell us about the first paper you published?
As an undergrad, I was interested in studying insects in streams and was introduced to a sampling technique that was cheap, easy, efficient and non-invasive – it was based on collecting Chironomidae (Diptera) floating pupal exuviae. I did not like it initially because I wanted to sample and identify live animals. But I soon understood the technique would allow me to get lots of samples rapidly. I got very good in using it and in identifying pupal exuviae. I used it in my undergrad thesis, which later became my first paper (published in Portuguese) and also in my Masters dissertation.
What’s your favourite species and why?
Never thought about this – I guess I don’t have one. I find many species interesting for different reasons. For example, more recently I have been reading about pirarucu (Arapaima spp.). Pirarucu are beautiful, big fish (they can reach 3 meters in length) that only occur in the Amazon basin. Their populations were declining a few decades ago, but thanks to specific policy and mainly participatory management lead by local traditional communities, populations have recovered and are abundant in many parts of the basin. The Brazilian ecologist João Vitor Campos-Silva has published some very interesting papers about them recently. It’s a beautiful history involving one of the largest freshwater fish in the world. Unfortunately, I have only seen one of them in an aquarium; and it was not even in Brazil.
Who inspired you most as a student?
When I was an undergrad and got involved with lab activities more seriously, I met a guy who had a huge impact in my trajectory as a training scientist, Fabio Roque. He is a professor at the Mato Grosso do Sul Federal University here in Brazil now, but was a Master or PhD student when we met. He introduced me to the first concept I found interesting in stream ecology – The River Continuum Concept (RCC). We became close friends and were always talking about new concepts, analyses, and all sorts of ideas we would like to pursue.
If you could wake up tomorrow with a new skill, what would it be?
Something related to art, maybe be a good guitar player. I love music and have never tried to learn how to play an instrument. I am an excellent air guitar player though.
Are you a good cook? What’s your signature dish?
I am a decent cook. I enjoy cooking to my family and friends, but usually prepare dishes that are easy to cook. For example, I like grilling stuff – meat, fish, vegetables. Barbecuing is a common thing in many regions here in Brazil. Many of us learn how to do it when we are kids. Sometimes, a barbecue here with friends and family can last for a whole day.
What’s your favourite sports team and why?
I really like football; not only watching the games, but also reading about the history of the sport, about tactics and what’s going on in championships in different countries. My favourite and only team is Corinthians, the 2000 and 2012 Club World Champions.
If you could recommend one place for people to travel to on holiday, where would it be and why?
Here in Brazil. If you like beaches, I recommend anywhere along the south coast of the state of Bahia. There you will find a nice combination of beautiful Atlantic Forest, white sand, clear water beaches, and good weather. If you prefer rivers and waterfalls, I recommend Chapada dos Veadeiros, in the north-eastern region of the state of Goiás, central Brazil. There you will find different Cerrado physiognomies, from rocky grasslands to more closed forests along the crystal-clear streams and rivers and their magnificent waterfalls. The local culture of these places is very peculiar and rich.
What was the first album you owned?
Well, my parents had some Beatles vinyl albums in our home, but the first one I bought was probably Ramones’ “Leave Home”, a CD version. Although I liked the Ramones (still do), there was no specific reason for buying that album, which is not even my favourite. I think I bought it because it was one the cheapest at the store and I was anxious to have my first album – at that time all my friends had already bought many. I still have it here with me.
Now to the more slightly more serious questions – what are the greatest differences in the challenges now facing ecosystems compared with when you first started your academic career?
Back when I started, we were more worried about pollution and land use change – which are interconnected. We also had a more localized view of the effects of these threats on ecosystems. These are still among the major threats to ecosystems, but now we have good evidence that various other types of environmental change, including climate change, may interact with each other in non-anticipated ways at broader spatial scales. I think this has to do with the recognition that ecosystems are spatially connected to each other by fluxes of organisms and matter. So, for example, contaminants and microplastic might end up in places far from where they originated.
What do you think are the biggest opportunities or potential opportunities for ecology in the next decade?
I think it is related to my previous answer, especially with regards to applied ecology. We still have a lot to learn about spatial fluxes of organisms and matter and the implications of an interconnected world in the Anthropocene. I also think there will be interesting opportunities for more diverse collaborations, including people from different disciplines, from outside academia, including indigenous peoples – who might bring a different perspective about the functioning of ecosystems and their responses to environmental change.
Tadeu is a Professor of Community and Numerical Ecology at São Paulo State University (UNESP), Brasil. His main area of expertise is in metacommunity ecology. Although his work is also based on simulations and data synthesis, Tadeu likes to use data from tropical streams to investigate his ideas. Tadeu has also been an Associate Editor since 2014 and now joins the Senior Editor team with the journal. Follow Tadeu on Twitter: @TadSiqueira
Meet the rest of the Senior Editor team: