Helder Espírito-Santo's website

hank you for visiting my website. I'm a PhD in Ecology, presently associated to the Graduate Program in Aquatic Ecology and Fisheries at Federal University of Pará (UFPA), Brazil. In my research I have interest in understanding temporal changes in biological communities and the environmental cues related to them. During 11 years I focused my research mainly on Amazonian stream fishes, using different approaches, from general trends in assemblage composition based in fish counts to individual marking-recapture studies. I enjoy ecological modeling and I'm looking for "top-models" to understand the habitat use and population regulation of fish along temporary and permanent habitats.

In my present project, I spread the questions to another ecosystem, the Mangrove Forests. Most of the data on fish ecology in mangroves come from studies conducted in the main water channels. However, the inter tidal mangrove zone houses a complex and extreme aquatic ecosystem, composed by small temporary pools, some floods and small drainage channels. In this habitats, settlement, survival and reproduction of fish are under apparently unpredictable hazard and community may be regulated by several factors, acting at different temporal and spatial scales. Our group try to understand such dynamics through field studies on seasonality in community structure and on fish movement.

In such a variable environments, a range of life-histories and ecological strategies may be find. One extreme example are the mangrove rivulus, Kryptolebias hermaphroditus, a killifish that may expend hours (or even days!) out of water, can move by leaping out of water and seem to disperse long distances by hitchhiking on drifting logs. Not enough, the mangrove rivulus are the unique known selfing hermaphrodite. Even with such an evolutionary apparatus for survival and reproduction, K. hermaphroditus was considered a near threatened (NT) species during the last meeting for the evaluation of conservation status of Brazilian fauna. Together with the Laboratório de Ictiologia Sistemática e Evolutiva da UFRN, we are studying several aspects of ecology and evolution of this group.

In addition to conducting research, I contribute to the progress of science teaching courses for Graduate Programs, especially on R programming language and Field Ecology; participating in scientific committees for evaluation of dissertations and thesis; acting as reviewer for scientific journals (to date Acta Amazonica, Acta Limnologica Brasiliensia, Biodiversity and Conservation, Biota Neotropica, Iheringia, Neotropical Ichthyology, PlosOne, Rivers Research and Applications) and as Associate Editor in Acta Amazonica.

https://publons.com/researcher/1400652/helder-espirito-santo/  https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7256-1868  http://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=iBGQorUAAAAJ  https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Helder_Espirito-Santo/ http://independent.academia.edu/HelderMVEsp%C3%ADritoSanto

(Para informações em português, visite meu Currículo Lattes)

Current position
Visiting Professor at Federal University of Pará (UFPA), Brazil.
Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia Aquática e Pesca
Universidade Federal do Pará
Rua Augusto Corrêa, 01, Campus Universitário Guamá
CEP 66075-110
Belém-PA, Brasil
e-mail: espiritosantohm@gmail.com

PhD. in Ecology, National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA), Brazil, 2015.
M.Sc. in Ecology, National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA), Brazil, 2007.
License in Animal Husbandry, Universidade Federal de Viçosa (UFV), Brazil, 2004.

Complementary training
2017-2018. Post-doc positionFederal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Brazil. Supervisor: Dr. Eduardo Venticinque.
2015-2016. Post-doc positionNational Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA), Brazil. Supervisor: Dr. Jansen Zuanon.

Courses and international experiences
2017. Course of Ecological Niche Modeling, Federal University of Goias (UFG), Brazil. Instructor: Dr. Matheus Lima-Ribeiro.
2016. Visitor Researcher at The Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, Australia. Host: Dr. Chris Fulton.
2015. Course of Advanced Statistics, focused on Mixed-Effects Models, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, USA. Instructor: Dr. Robert Bagchi.
2013-2014. PhD internship, Universitè du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR), Trois-Rivières, Canada. Supervisor: Dr. Marco A. Rodríguez.
2012. Course of Bayesian Population Analysis using WinBUGS. Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies, Esporles, Spain. Instructors: Drs. Marc Kéry and Michael Schaub.
2010. Research Internship, Universitè du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR), Trois-Rivières, Canada. Supervisor: Dr. Marco A. Rodríguez.


This project, created in 2001 by researches of the National Institute of Amazonian Research, aims to understanding the distribution of aquatic biodiversity in small Amazonian forest streams and the effects of human activities on the biota. For a complete list of publications associated, please see Igarapés Project Publications.

The brazilian Biodiversity Research Programme - PPBio

Some partners' websites
Victor L. Landeiro Spatial Stream Ecologist, UFMT, Brazil
Thiago B.A. Couto Parameter Estimater Ecologist, University of Washington, Seattle
Cristian S. Dambros Community Ecologist, U Vermont, USA (nice R functions)
Murilo S. Dias Aquatic Macroecologist, University of Brasilia, UnB, Brazil
Waldir M. Berbel-Filho Fish Evolutionary Biologist, Swansea University, Wales, UK.

      Peer-reviewed articles

Duarte, C., Espírito-Santo, H.M.V, Zuanon, J., Rapp Py-Daniel, L.H, Deus, C.P. (2019) What happens in the darkness? The seasonal variation of tropical benthic fish assemblages. Marine and Freshwater Research. Online Early

Espírito-Santo, H.M.V, Sodré, J.G. & Zuanon, J. (2018). He leaps, she beats: the role of social interactions on the overland movements of an Amazonian amphibious killifish. Published Online in Ecology of Freshwater Fish. [pdf]

Espírito-Santo, H.M.V & Zuanon, J. (2017) Temporary pools provide stability to fish assemblages in Amazon headwater streams. Ecology of Freshwater Fish, 26, 475-483. [pdf]

Espírito-Santo, H.M.V, Rodríguez, M.A. & Zuanon, J. (2017) Strategies to avoid the trap: stream fish use fine-scale hydrological cues to move between the stream channel and temporary pools. Hydrobiologia, 792, 183-194. [pdf]

Berbel-Filho, W.M., Espírito-Santo, H.M.V. & Lima, S.M.Q. (2016) First record of a male of Kryptolebias hermaphroditus Costa, 2011 (Cyprinodontiformes: Cynolebiidae). Neotropical Ichthyology, 14, e160024. [pdf]

Dias, M.S., Zuanon, J., Carvalho, M.S., Carvalho, L.N., Espírito-Santo, H.M.V., Frederico, R., Leitão, R.P., Mortati, A.F., Pires, T., Torrente-Vilara, G., do Vale, J., Anjos, M.B., Mendonça, F.P., Tedesco, P.A. (2016). Trends in studies of Brazilian stream fish assemblages. Natureza & Conservação, 14, 106-111.

Costa F.V., Costa F.R.C., Magnusson W.E., Chilson E.F., Zuanon J., Cintra R., Luizão F., Camargo J.L.C., Andrade A., Lawrance W., Baccaro F.B., Souza J. & Espírito-Santo H.M.V. (2015) Synthesis of the first 10 Years of Long-Term Ecological Research in Amazonian forest ecosystem - implications for conservation and management. Natureza & Conservação 13, 3-14.[pdf]

Brito J.G. De, Alves L.F. & Espírito Santo H.M.V. (2014) Seasonal and spatial variations in limnological conditions of a floodplain lake (Lake Catalão) connected to both the Solimões and Negro Rivers, Central Amazonia. Acta Amazonica 41, 121-134. [pdf]

Espírito-Santo H.M.V., Rodríguez M.A. & Zuanon J. (2013) Reproductive strategies of Amazonian stream fishes and their fine-scale use of habitat are ordered along a hydrological gradient. Freshwater Biology 58, 2494–2504. [pdf]

Barros D.D.F., Albernaz A.L.M., Zuanon J., Espírito Santo H.M.V., Mendonça F.P. & Galuch A. V. (2013) Effects of isolation and environmental variables on fish community structure in the Brazilian Amazon Madeira-Purus interfluve. Brazilian Journal of Biology 73, 491–499. [pdf]

Barros D.D.F., Zuanon J., Mendonça F.P. De, Espírito Santo H.M.V., Galuch A. V. & Albernaz A.L.M. (2011) The fish fauna of streams in the Madeira-Purus interfluvial region, Brazilian Amazon. Check List 7, 768–773. [pdf]

Espírito-Santo H.M.V., Magnusson W.E., Zuanon J. & Emilio T. (2011) Short-term impacts of fish removal from small Amazonian forest streams. Biotropica 43, 529–532. [pdf]

Giacomini H.C., Lima Jr. D.P., Latini A.O. & Espírito Santo H.M.V. (2011) Spatio-temporal segregation and size distribution of fish assemblages as related to non-native species occurrence in the middle rio Doce Valley, MG, Brazil. Neotropical Ichthyology 9, 135–146. [pdf]

Landeiro V.L., Magnusson W.E., Melo A.S., Espírito Santo H.M.V. & Bini L.M. (2011) Spatial eigenfunction analyses in stream networks: do watercourse and overland distances produce different results? Freshwater Biology 56, 1184–1192. [pdf]

Emilio T., Nelson B.W., Schietti J., Desmoulière S.J.-M., Espírito Santo H.M.V. & Costa F.R.C. (2010) Assessing the relationship between forest types and canopy tree beta diversity in Amazonia. Ecography 33, 1–738–747. [pdf]

Espírito Santo H.M.V., Magnusson W.E., Zuanon J., Mendonça F.P. & Landeiro V.L. (2009) Seasonal variation in the composition of fish assemblages in small Amazonian forest streams: evidence for predictable changes. Freshwater Biology 54, 536–548. [pdf]

Latini A.O., Lima Jr. D.P., Giacomini H.C., Latini R.O., Resende D.C., Espírito Santo H.M.V., Barros D.F. & Pereira T.L. (2004) Alien fishes in lakes of the Doce river basin (Brazil): range, new occurrences and conservation of native communities. Lundiana 5, 135–142. [pdf]


Field guide for fishes of Ducke Reserve: Zuanon J., Mendonça F.P., Espírito-Santo H.M.V, Dias M.S., Galuch A.V., Akama A. (2015). Guia de Peixes da Reserva Adolpho Ducke. 1st Ed. Manaus: Editora INPA. 155p. [pdf in Portuguese]

Book translation

Translation of Gotelli & Ellison's chapter A bestiary of experimental and sampling designs (A primer of ecological statistics, 2004) to the portuguese version of the book (Gotelli, N.J. & Ellison, A.M. 2011. Princípios de estatística em Ecologia, Ed. Artmed, Porto Alegre).

Book chapters

Mendonça F.P., Pazin V.F.V., Espírito Santo H.M.V., Zuanon J. & Magnusson W.E. (2008) Peixes. In: Reserva Ducke: A Biodiversidade Amazônica Através De Uma Grade, 1st edn. (Eds M.L. Oliveira, F.B. Baccaro, R. Braga-Neto & W.E. Magnusson), pp. 63–76. Editora INPA, Manaus.

Latini A.O., Espírito Santo H.M.V., Giacomini H.C., Latini R.O., Lima Jr. D.P., De Marco-Júnior P., et al. (2006) Ecologia de Peixes Exóticos no Médio Rio Doce. In: Espécies da Fauna e da Flora Invasoras - Recomendações para o Manejo e Poíticas Públicas, 1st edn. (Ed. D.M. Rambaldi), MMA, Brasília.

Latini A.O., Leão T.P., Latini R.O., Giacomini H.C., Lima Jr. D.P., Oporto L.T., et al. (2005) Distribuição e efeitos de peixes exóticos sobre a icriofauna nativa dos lagos do Médio Rio Doce, MG, Brasil. In: Espécies Ivasoras em Águas Doces - Estudos de caso e propostas de manejo, 1st edn. (Eds O. Rocha, E.L.G. Espindola, N.F. Verani, J.R. Verani & A.C. Rietzler), pp. 99–118. Ed. UFSCar, São Carlos.

Other relevant contributions

Paper in the Bulletim of Brazilian Ichthyological Society. Couto T.B.A., Espírito-Santo H.M.V., Leitão R.P., Bastos D.A., Dias M.S., Zuanon J. 2015. Os peixes e as poças: o uso de áreas marginais alagáveis por peixes de igarapés amazônicos. Boletim da Sociedade Brasileira de Ictiologia. 116:31-40. [pdf in Portuguese]

PhD dissertation (two chapters in english). Espírito-Santo, H.M.V. (2015). Watch your step: temporary ponds have an important role on ecology of fishes in Amazonian terra-firme streams. Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Manaus. [pdf]


The Mangrove Amphibious Killifish. Lightning talk at the Explorers Spotlight during the II National Geographic Explorers Festival Latin America, Mexico City, Mexico. March 2019.

How do temporary ponds affect the dynamics of fish fauna in Amazonian forest streams. Seminar at The Australian Rivers Institute/Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD, Australia. May 2016. [pdf]

Islands of water: how do fish time the use of temporary ponds alongside Amazonian streams? Oral presentation at the 52th ATBC Meeting, Honolulu, HI, USA. July 2015. [pdf]

Abundance partition and life-history evolution of tropical stream fishes in a microhabitat scale. Oral presentation at the 49th ATBC Meeting, Bonito-MS, Brazil. July 2012[pdf]

Recent fieldwork photos

Boat crossing to Maracá Island, Amapá state, Northern Brazil

Marco Zero Monument in Macapá

Last update: 18-Apr-2019