ERC Starting Grant for Ana Bastos
Geoscientist Dr Ana Bastos is delighted to have been awarded one of the prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grants in the field of Earth System Science. With the five-year funding, she will advance her research on the vulnerability of forests to extreme events and damage related to climate change.
Forests regulate water and energy exchange, provide habitat for animal and plant biodiversity and mitigate climate change. Currently, forests absorb about 25 per cent of human-made carbon dioxide emissions. But these capabilities could be threatened by more frequent and intense weather extremes and associated disturbances such as fires and insect outbreaks. The warning signs over the past decade cannot be ignored. Yet our knowledge of the interactions between climate, forests and their hazards is still limited. As a consequence, the impacts of repeated forest disturbances in a short period of time, however, cannot yet be simulated satisfactorily in the current climate projections of the Earth system models.
To fill these knowledge gaps, Ana Bastos is taking an interdisciplinary approach: Remote sensing data with high spatial and temporal resolution and deep-learning methods will be used to reconstruct the history of disturbances. In addition, new analytical tools and modelling approaches will be developed to study the interactions between climate, forests and their disturbance factors.
"Our goal is to reliably project extreme events and forest damage caused by fires, droughts, insect outbreaks or storms and their impact on the climate change mitigation potential of forests in the coming decades" summarises Ana Bastos.
Project funded by ERC Starting Grant:
Forest vulnerability to compound extremes and disturbances in a changing climate (ForExD)
Scientific career of Ana Bastos
Ana Bastos studied Environmental and Energy Engineering in Lisbon and obtained her PhD in Geophysics and Geoinformation Science in 2015 on "Effects of climate variability and extremes on carbon uptake by terrestrial ecosystems". After a three-year post-doctoral stay at LSCE-IPSL/CEA-Saclay in France, she worked as a research associate and lecturer at Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich until 2018. Since 2020, she has been leading a research group within the Department Biogeochemical Integration of Director Markus Reichstein at the MPI for Biogeochemistry.
The European Research Council was established by the European Union in 2007 as the first European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. Each year, the ERC selects and funds the best and most creative researchers to establish their own independent research team or programme in Europe. The ERC offers four main funding programmes: Starting, Consolidator, Advanced and Synergy Grants.