Species360 is pleased to announce that Dr. Rita da Silva has been awarded the prestigious Villum International Postdoc program grant by the Villum Foundation (VILLUM FONDEN). As Aquatic Sciences Coordinator for the Species360 Conservation Science Alliance, this grant will enable her to focus on developing new methods to analyze and forecast population dynamics using global species data, including aquatic species data curated in the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS). For the next year, Rita will develop research at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to expand her knowledge and network in the Ocean sciences world.
VILLUM FONDEN established the Villum International Postdoc program to help the next generation of women leaders to kick-start an international research career in science and technology. The grants are strategically timed to coincide with the transition from newly minted Ph.D. to established postdoc, a period that statistically sees the largest number of women leave science. Select institutions are invited to put forward just one nominee, and Rita was the nominee chosen by University of Southern Denmark (SDU).
While completing her Ph.D., from 2016 to 2019, Rita worked with her mentor Dr. Dalia Conde, Director of Science at Species360 and Associate Professor at the Interdisciplinary Center on Population Dynamics, University of Southern Denmark. Rita joined the research team and successfully developed several studies focusing on assessing the conservation potential of aquariums and zoos worldwide, including studies published in PNAS, the Journal for Nature Conservation, and Data in Brief. This grant will allow Rita to continue and expand assessments of the conservation potential of ex situ population in ZIMS member institutions.
We are particularly excited about the work that Rita will be developing with Species360 members and partners to determine how this research can support the decision-making processes for aquatic species management. Likewise, she will explore how information contributed by our members can impact species management and conservation in the wild.