I am a post doc researcher working in marine conservation and management. I'm particularly interested in Marine Protected Areas and their effects in marine communities but also in local users, such as artisanal fishers. I am also very interested in MPAs networks, connectivity, climate change, fisheries vulnerability, and fish assemblages resilience to local and global impacts. I'm interested in the study of factors influencing MPA effectiveness, including regulations, management and monitoring. I'm dedicated to particular case-studies, but also to global or regional patterns of MPAs.
Barbara Horta e Costa has been working on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) all her career. She studied Marine Biology and Fisheries at the University of the Algarve, during which she spent a semester in Amazonia to study the aquatic reserves. She did her masters in the same institution with the collaboration of Centro de Investigaciones Marinas from the University of La Habana (Cuba), where she spent 6 months on a thesis entitled: “Distribution and Abundance of commercial fish in and around the Marine Protected Area (MPA) of Punta Frances, Cuba.” After, she did a PhD in MPA effectiveness at the Parque Marinho Professor Luiz Saldanha with the University of the Algarve, but mainly at MARE- ISPA - Instituto Universitário and Marine Sciences Institute from the University of California at Santa Barbara (USA). The dissertation was entitled “The effect of conservation measures on the spatial and temporal variation of rocky fish assemblages in the Arrábida Marine Park, Portugal”, but it also involved the effects of conservation measures in the local fisheries and the adaptation of local fish assemblages to warming in the last 50 years.
She was a researcher of the BiodivERsA project: “BUFFER - Partially protected areas as buffers to increase the linked social-ecological resilience” at CCMAR. Among a variety of tasks and work packages, B.H.C was part of the scientific coordination of WP1 – Typology of Partially Protected Areas (PPAs). That study led to a number of outputs, including the development of a new classification system for MPAs and zones, based on their regulations. This has been published in a scientific journal (Horta e Costa et al. 2016) and non-scientific media (including MPA NEWS), has raised debate about MPA classification, and a website was developed: http://www.classifympas.org/en/ to support MPA practicioners. This system integrates GLORES criteria (https://globaloceanrefuge.org/), where she is part of the scientific council. She also collaborated to the MPA Portuguese task force led by the Minister of the Sea. She organized a workshop to explain how to classify MPAs based on this system, as well as a number of talks nationally and abroad.
After that, she had a brief postdoc position at CNRS-EPHE Criobe (University of Perpignan) and Labex Corail (FMSH fellowship), with a study she proposed, called “FEVER – fisheries (socio-ecological) vulnerability to climate change”. The study is about to be submitted.
Since December 2015 she is a postdoc researcher of CCMAR (FCT fellowship) in the FBC/CFRG lab (with Prof. Karim Erzini and Dr. Jorge Gonçalves) and is running a study entitled “Linking the ecological and evolutionary roles of MPAs: implications for management”. It includes the study of spawning aggregations (when, where, duration) in the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina through fishers’ perceptions and ecological surveys. Monitoring of different protection zones will be also conducted. It also involves the study of protection vs. fishing selectivity of fish behavior (movement) according to the time spent in the different protection zones and individuals home range. A support project (POSEUR funding) was recently approved and will contribute to these tasks, 'MarSW'.
She has taught the course ‘Ocean Governance and Marine Protected Areas’ in the Masters of Marine Biology and Conservation at ISPA – Instituto Universitário between 2014-2016 (including the first year of the course and the preparation of all topics). She has also tutored and supervised a number of master students and intenrships, in the scope of MPA effectiveness and monitoring (at least 14 students).
She is collaborating with a variety of projects on MPAs, including a consultancy for WWF in Portugal and Fundação Oceano Azul on Portuguese MPAs (types of MPAs, coverage, governance, management). A report has been produced: Horta e Costa (2017). MPA X-ray - Diagnóstico das Áreas Marinhas Protegidas Portuguesas. WWF Portugal. Portugal, 78 páginas; and respective executive summary and factsheet in PT and EN (http://www.wwf.pt/o_que_fazemos/areas_marinhas_protegidas/). (this report was recently uptaded to a 2nd version, including stakeholders suggestions - will be released soon).