Ecologist Raul Costa Pereira explores an intriguing aspect of biodiversity: the differences among individuals. After spending considerable time observing piraputanga fish underwater in the pristine streams of Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul, Raul discovered that despite their apparent similarities, each individual in nature is unique. Much like humans, each individual fish, jaguar, or even dragonfly possesses its unique habits and characteristics. This diversity among individuals has captivated Raul since his undergraduate studies.
Born in Osasco (SP), Raul identifies himself as a native of Mato Grosso do Sul. He holds a Ph.D. in Ecology and Biodiversity from the State University of São Paulo (UNESP-Rio Claro). Before relocating to Campinas (SP), he researched ecology and evolution in the United States, New Zealand, Canada, and Portugal. Although he admits that he started his career in biology only after realizing his limitations on the soccer field, Raul now serves as a professor at the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP). At the institution, he leads the Laboratory of Ecology of Individual Variations (LEVIn) and is a full professor in UNICAMP’s Graduate Program in Ecology.
Cities are complex human societies where individuals with unique characteristics and habits coexist. However, a small number of people concentrate the majority of opportunities and resources. These two factors shape how cities function, generating heterogeneity in the urban landscape between neighboring houses and neighborhoods with different socioeconomic realities.
Despite the many distractions of city life, we sometimes forget that we share urban space with other humans and a wide variety of organisms. Even our homes are small ecosystems that support an immense diversity of life.
This research aims to understand how our individual habits (e.g., having a pet, always eating out) and the structure of São Paulo’s complex urban mosaic (e.g., tree-lined or completely paved neighborhoods) influence the ecological interactions that take place in the environment we know best: our homes.