The life of biologist Vanessa Staggemeier is marked by an extensive journey through Brazil, a fact that perhaps helps explain her passion for biodiversity. Born in Rio Grande do Sul, Vanessa grew up in the interior of São Paulo, a state where she graduated in biological sciences from the Universidade Estadual Paulista Júlio de Mesquita Filho, where she also took a master’s degree in botany. For her doctorate she moved to the Federal University of Goiás, which hosted her doctorate in ecology and evolution. Upon returning from a postdoctoral period at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, United Kingdom, he decided to settle down again in Rio Grande, however, this time he chose Rio Grande do Norte.
Passionate about ecology, Vanessa studies the role of interaction between animals and plants in the dispersion and diversity of plants throughout the Atlantic Forest. Curious since childhood, Vanessa says her mind was always ready to find patterns whether in puzzles or memory games. From one Rio Grande to another, the biologist now anxiously awaits the arrival of her first daughter, who will be from Rio Grande do Norte. In addition to research and classes at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Vanessa also takes care of an ecological dissemination project on Instagram.
Today we know that climatic factors and variations in relief can promote species diversity in nature. But we still know little about the role of interactions between plants and animals in setting up and regulating patterns of plant diversity. Here I will assess how frugivores’ decisions about, for example, eating a small or large fruit, with many or few seeds, yellow or red, among other choices, impact species diversification rates. Our study model is the Myrtaceae family, which houses many of the species we see in backyards such as guava, jabuticaba, pitanga, uvaia, among others. The generated results will be applied to conserve the Atlantic Forest and promote the dissemination of knowledge about biodiversity, after all it is easier to preserve what we know than what we do not know.