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 Rita Patricio

Rita Patricio

FCT Postdoctoral fellow

 Daphne du Maurier Post Grad


Daphne du Maurier Building, University of Exeter,  Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK

I am a marine ecologist and my research focuses on several aspects of marine turtle ecology, including understanding migratory paths and connectivity, prevalence and impacts of Fibropapillomatosis disease, population dynamics and trends, and also on investigating climate change impacts on nesting populations. My recent work in West Africa has also a strong focus on conservation and community engagement and capacity building.

Broad research specialisms

Marine turtles, Marine Conservation, Population Dynamics, Climate Change impacts on Biodiversity


2017 PhD in Biological Sciences, University of Exeter, UK

2011 MSc in Conservation Biology, University of Puerto Rico, USA

2006 B.S. in Environmental Biology, University of Lisbon, Portugal


2015 Príncipe Trust Foundation (Sea Turtle Project Coordinator, Principe Isl.)

2012 US-FWS (Sea Turtle Project Coordinator, Puerto Rico)

2011 University of Puerto Rico (Research Assistant Environmental Microbiology)

2008 - 10 University of Puerto Rico (Teacher Assistant)


Research interests

Migration and Connectivity of sea turtles, Population Dynamics and Trends, Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity

Member of research groups

Marine Turtle Research Group

Atlantic Migrants

Research projects

Project Title: Consolidation of sea turtle conservation at the Bijagós archipelago, Guinea-Bissau

Funding Body: MAVA Foundation

Project Description:

The Bijagós Archipelago, Guinea-Bissau, hosts one of the largest green turtle Chelonia mydas populations worldwide, with key nesting beaches and foraging areas. The main threats to this population are the consumption of sea turtle meat by the local population, the intentional and incidental captures by fishing vessels, and the degradation of the nesting habitat due to coastal erosion, flooding and increase of marine debris.

This project is led by the Institute of Biodiversity and Protected Areas of Guinea-Bissau (IBAP,, and the main aims of our project are: 1. to reduce sea turtle mortality at the breeding sites, and 2. to minimize habitat disturbance inside the Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

The aims will be achieved essentially by improving the management of the MPAs through capacity building of national technicians, by providing new GPS data on marine turtle inter-nesting habitat use and post-nesting migratory routes for an update of the MPA zoning, by acquiring data on beach erosion and flooding risk applying novel approaches using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and prhotogrametry analysis, and through the engagement of the local communities in the management and conservation of sea turtles.

Research grants

  • 2013 Rufford Foundation
    Rufford Small Grants

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