Most of the opportunities in my lab are through the Masters and Ph.D. program in Animal Biodiversity. Annually, the program opens an application process and offers scholarships to the students best classified in the selection process. The selection is open to all Brazilian and international candidates regardless of visa status (although international candidates will need to apply for a visa after acceptance into the program). Ph.D. candidates are highly encouraged to spend part of their course abroad (scholarships to live abroad are also available). Interested students can usually apply between September and October to the following year classes. Visit https://www.ufsm.br/cursos/pos-graduacao/santa-maria/ppgba/ for more information.
Visiting students are welcome in my lab all year round.
What you need to know before joining the lab
The join my lab you must be strongly motivated and committed to ethical scientific practices. I strongly encourage people from different backgrounds, ethnic origins, and gender. If you do not value cultural diversity and do not think gender equality is important, this is not a good place for you. I strongly believe that by promoting cultural diversity in this environment, we can do better science.
About the type of work we conduct: we use statistics, mathematics, and computer simulations to understand nature. You don't need to have these skills but you must be committed to learning statistics, some math, and a computer programming language (R, Python, C++, etc.) to join the lab.
Put in your schedule
All graduate students in my lab meet with me at least twice a week. During group meetings, we discuss scientific papers, set priorities for the week, share manuscripts for review, etc. We often pick a whole book to read and discuss during the semester. We have already read and discussed the Mark Vellend's book on "The Theory of Community Ecology", Joshua Schimel's book on "Writing Science", among others. Sometimes we also get together to just sit and write (then we set targets and count the number of words; Agraphia meeting in a writing group). Also, each student meets with me for an individual 1-hour meeting every week. At the individual meeting, we write proposals together, discuss (problems) with R scripts, discuss techniques for better scientific writing, etc. Students are not allowed to skip meetings with a few exceptions.
Undergraduate students usually work closely with me and the graduate students in the lab. All undergraduate students are required to develop a scientific project or get involved with someone's project.
Living in Santa Maria
A place to have fun and work hard
Santa Maria is located in the south of Brazil (click here to see the map). The region has a subtropical climate with hot summers and cold winters (can reach below freezing). The university is an important aspect of the city, and someone can't live here without feeling it. The nightlife is vibrant and there are plenty of outdoor activities, especially in the summer, when people can visit trails and waterfalls nearby. The city is about 4 hours drive from Porto Alegre, the largest city in the State (1.5 million). Porto Alegre can be easily reached by bus departing from the university all day and night. Santa Maria is safer to live in than most large cities in Brazil - most of the city (eg. around the university) is ok to walk with your belongings, to go out for a drink at late hours, or to take a bus at night.