Hello, my name is Rafael Pinheiro. I am a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Animal Biology Department of the University of Campinas, Brazil, and currently a guest in the Spatial Interaction Ecology group at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) in Leipzig, Germany.

I have a Ph.D. in Ecology, Conservation and Wildlife Management, by the Federal University of Minas Gerais. During my Ph.D. I was a member of the Ecological Synthesis Lab, and a guest for one year in the Department of Biometry and Environmental System Analysis, University of Freiburg, Germany.

My main research interest is the ecology and evolution of interspecific interactions, mainly parasitism and mutualism. Since my undergraduation I have been studying the interaction between mistletoes (Struthanthus flexicaulis) and host trees, as well as its effects on the plant communities of Cangas (ferruginous rupestrian fields). Published results from these researches can be found here and here.

Since my Masters’ Degree, I have studied the interactions between parasites and hosts in avian malaria systems. My studies have been focused on the diversity, specialization and geographical distribution of the avian malaria parasites, as well as in the structure of the networks formed by those interactions (examples herehere, and here). As a result of my Master’s Degree research, we published a paper in which we proposed a new hypothesis for the specialization of parasites: the integrative hypothesis of parasite specialization.

My Ph.D. thesis was focused on ecological network topologies and its underlying mechanisms. In my Ph.D research, I used the integrative hypothesis of specialization to derive a mechanism able to shape interaction networks into the most common topologies. The second chapter of my thesis was aimed at explaining the emergence of nestedness in ecological networks. I hope it will be published soon as a paper, but in the meanwhile, you can read a pre-print.

As a postdoc I keep mostly studying the topology of species interactions, with a focus on hierarchical compound topologies. My two main publications on the theme so far are Pinheiro et al. 2022 and Felix et al. 2022. I teach “Ecological Networks” in the Graduate Program of Ecology in the University of Campinas. I am on Twitter and Research Gate (although I rarely access it). For codes, check my GitHub. I am also a co-author of bipartite R package (CRAN and GitHub).

A Brazilian ecologist sees snow for the first time in Germany