Ecologist Danilo Neves is originally from the cerrado (grasslands) of Goiás, but he studied biological sciences and earned a master’s in plant biology at the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul. His Ph.D. in plant biology from the Federal University of Minas Gerais included a sandwich fellowship at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. Neves then returned to Edinburgh for his post-doctorate and later completed post-docs at the University of Arizona in the United States and the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England. He returned to UFMG to take up a teaching position in the Botany Department. In his free time, he enjoys hiking and living in nature.
Why are there so many plant species in tropical regions? This question has driven the work of naturalists such as Alexander von Humboldt and Charles Darwin for centuries, but we still know relatively little about the processes that led to the diversity patterns we observe today.
This project aims to generate ecological information for hundreds of plant species in Brazil, and to refine mathematical models and ecological theories about biodiversity. We will then integrate these new ecological models and data with state-of-the-art bioinformatics and plant genetics tools to test hypotheses about the processes of diversification and maintenance of biodiversity in threatened ecosystems, such as the rupestrian fields of Chapada da Diamantina and the inselbergs (or sugar loaves) of southeastern Brazil.