Virginia Tech® home

Dr. Luciana Pereira

PHD FELLOW ALUMNI    |   Global Change Center

VT Alumni May 2024, Fish and Wildlife Conservation

Advisor: Dr. Leandro Castello


Dr. Luciana Pereira successfully defened in spring 2024. While at Virginia Tech Luciana is studied under the joint supervision of fish ecologist Dr. Leandro Castello and population geneticist Dr. Eric Hallerman to improve understanding of fish migration patterns, rules of community management of fisheries, and the interface between science and fishery policy in the Amazon basin. Her research looked at the migration patterns of Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum, an economically and ecologically important species in the Amazon basin. The understanding of patterns of fish migration and population connectivity is important for the development of biologically based units of conservation and management. These topics deserve urgent attention because dozens of dams are planned for the Amazon basin, which will endanger fish movements and consequently food security for Amazonian communities.

Luciana is interested in conducting interdisciplinary research combining her background in isotope analysis with novel techniques in population genetics and microchemistry analysis to unravel large-scale patterns of fish migration and population structure in the Amazon Basin. Her main drive to do this study is to inform policy and help address food security and fisheries sustainability concerns. Luciana received her B.S. in Biologic Sciences and M.S. in Ecology at the University of Brasilia (UnB). During her graduate studies, she participated in an Ecology Graduate Program at the Network of Laboratory Geochronology of the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement in France. There, she combined her experiences in ecology and geology to focus on forensic sciences and isotopic certification of fish origin.

She studied biogeochemical tags of Arapaima fisheries in the Amazon to provide a tool to combat illegal fisheries, to preserve food security, and to control of the commerce of threatened fishes. Luciana continued her work at UnB as a lab manager in the Laboratory of Geochronology and was responsible for the management of the Scanning Electron Microscopy Laboratory in diverse multidisciplinary projects.

Luciana was excited to become involved with the IGC program because she believes that an interdisciplinary approach is essential to support provision of ecosystem services. To focus on the interface between science and policy aligns with her world view of pursuing a path to promote social change by improving quality of life and economic development for society.