João was born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1984.
He completed a bachelor degree in Environmental Engineering (2002/2006), a master's degree in Ecological Engineering (2006/2010), and a PhD in Environmental Studies (2011/2015), focused on marine litter, microplastics and ecotoxicology.
During the master's degree, João enrolled for one semester in the Transboundary Water Management Master at Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, Netherlands, as part of the Erasmus programme; and during the doctoral degree he enrolled at Plymouth University, United Kingdom, to conduct a biochemical biomarkers and histology training under the co-supervision of Prof. Richard Thompson.
João's research focuses on marine litter and microplastics, and he has been working on this topic for 10+ years, including his PhD. He has worked on projects such as POIZON (FCT UNL), Azorlit (MARE IMAR DOP), and BASEMAN (JPI Oceans).
He was recently awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND Collaborative Research Fellowships for a Responsive and Innovative Europe (CAROLINE), where he is currently working on the IMP.act project - Managing for Microplastics: A baseline to inform policy stakeholders.
João is a member of the Marie Curie Alumni Association and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science since 2018; and a member of SETAC Europe since 2019.
João is the co-founder of the Portuguese Marine Litter Association (APLM), a non-profit, non-governmental organisation that is liaising the creation of the Portuguese Partnership on Marine Litter, as part of the vision signed at the Honolulu Declaration in 2011, and the 2012 United Nations Manila Declaration.
He was always involved in many volunteering activities from outreach and awareness campaigns and beach cleanups to acting and theater performance in Germany, Ireland, United Kindgom and Portugal.
(2018 – 2019) NFQ Level 9 MA Certificate in Teaching and Learning (Grade Pass) at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), Dublin Road Campus, Galway, Ireland.
(2011 – 2015) PhD. Environmental Sciences, Ecotoxicology and Marine Management (Grade 16/20) (1-First class) at Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia of Universidade Nova de Lisboa (FCT‑UNL), Lisbon, Portugal. Biochemical biomarker training at Plymouth University, U.K. PhD Thesis: Effects of the presence of microplastic particles in Portuguese coastal waters and marine mussels.
(2006 – 2010) MSc. Ecological Engineering and Environmental Conservation Management at FCT-UNL. (Grade 15/20) (2.1-Upper second class). Master Thesis: Microplastics, the poisoned “present”.
(2002 – 2006) BSc. Environmental Engineering at FCT-UNL (Grade 13/20) (2.2-Lower second class). Enrolled for one semester at the Transboundary Water Management Master course at Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen (Netherlands) as part of the ERASMUS programme.
Grants and projects
(2018-present) Managing for microplastics: a baseline to inform policy stakeholders (IMP.act). Funded by the Irish Research Council – Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND Collaborative Research Fellowships for a Responsive and Innovative Europe (CAROLINE) Fellowship Programme, developed and carried out at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT). Project reference: CLNE/2018/524
(2017-2018) Defining the baselines and standards for microplastic analyses in European waters (BASEMAN). Funded by the Joint Programming Initiative Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI OCEANS), developed and carried out at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT). Project reference: PBA/ME/15/01
(2015-2016) Establishing a baseline on marine litter in the Azores (AZORLIT). Funded by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) developed and carried out at Instituto do Mar, Departamento de Oceanografia e Pescas (IMAR MARE DOP UAç) of Universidade dos Açores. Partners: Observatório do Mar dos Açores (OMA). Project reference: P01495
(2008-2013) Microplastics and persistent pollutants: a double threat to marine organisms (POIZON). Funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT-MCTES). Partners: Instituto Português do Mar e Atmosfera (IPMA) e Pólo de Inovação em Engenharia de Polímeros (PIEP). Project reference: PTDC/MAR/102677/2008.
(2010-2015) PhD fellowship: Effects of the presence of microplastic particles in Portuguese coastal waters and marine mussels. Funded by Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT-MCTES). Project reference: SFRH/BD/74772/2010.
(2018-present) GMIT. Post-doctoral researcher. Galway, Ireland. Description: Principal investigator in the IMP.act project. Characterisation and identification of microplastics. Ingestion of microplastics by marine fauna. Spatio-temporal distribution of microplastics in Galway Bay. Outreach and awareness dissemination activities. Integration of data. Guest speaker at national events.
(2017-2018) GMIT. Post-doctoral researcher. Galway, Ireland. Description: Work Package 4 Leader. Identification and quantification of microplastics from water surface, sediment and biota samples. Validation and harmonisation of analytical methods. Reporting to project supervisors and to policy stakeholders. Provision of relevant information for monitoring requirements. Fieldwork, data collection and exchange with project partners; microplastic data integration. Use of appropriate analytical methods to compare physical and biota-based approaches to microplastic sampling. Co-author reports and peer-reviewed publications. Attend regular partner meetings with wider consortium.
(2015-2016) IMAR MARE DOP UAçores. Scientific researcher. Horta, Faial, Portugal. Description: Data field sampling collection in 8 out of 9 islands of the Azorean archipelago. Conducting monthly beach sampling surveys and campaigns. Conducting necropsies to marine birds (Cory’s shearwaters), marine turtles (Loggerhead turtles); cetaceans (Common dolphin) and several fish species with commercial and/or ecological interest in the archipelago. Engaging with Nature Vigilantes in order to promote partnerships among the islands. Creating educational materials for local exhibitions in museums and aquariums; Giving talks in schools; Writing and reviewing scientific papers and reports.
(2015) NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM. Visitor Engagement Assistant. London, United Kingdom. Description: Liaising and engaging with visitors. Providing excellent customer service. Reporting to Duty managers.
(2015) BARBICAN. Barbican Ambassador. London, United Kingdom. Description: Community engagement. Promotion of events. Carry out evaluations at events. Reporting to Marketing and Duty managers. Assist all members of the public with appropriate information relevant to their specific needs. Providing excellent customer service. Conducting tour guides.
(2015) WELLCOME COLLECTION. Visitor Engagement Assistant. London, United Kingdom. Liaising and engaging with visitors. Providing excellent customer service. Conducting tour guides. Reporting to Duty managers. Fire marshal duties.
(2008-2009/2010-2015) MARINE AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES CENTRE (MARE) NOVA FCT-UNL. Junior researcher. Caparica, Portugal. Description: Data field collection based on standard international procedures and protocols. Conduction ecotoxicological bioassays with live organisms. Sampling microplastics in beaches and in zooplankton samples. Operation of Nicolet® Nexus spectrophotometer (µ-FTIR technique) and of Biochrom® UVM 340 microplate reader (Biochemical biomarkers). Basic operation knowledge of Dionex® ASE 200 accelerated solvent extractor and of DSQ® Thermo Scientific™ gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Writing and reviewing scientific research papers and reports. Conference organizing and management of stakeholder meetings.
(2009-2010) MUSEU DA ELECTRICIDADE – FUNDAÇÃO EDP. Museum tour guide. Lisboa, Portugal. Description: Meet and greet staff. Provide excellent customer service while liaising and engaging with visitors. Provide guided tours on the Electricity Museum (Central Tejo) to elementary, basic and secondary schools, universities, families or other groups. Body language and speech adaptation to target audience. Database management and activity planning. Academic internship.
(2019 - present) Marine Litter consultant for ECOS
(2018) Expert research proposal evaluator for the Government of Portugal, General Directorate for Maritime Policy - Direção Geral de Políticas do Mar
(2015) Expert research proposal evaluator for the Government of Chile, Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the Chilean Navy - Servicio Hidrográfico y Oceanográfico de la Armada de Chile
(2nd-6th February 2019). Marine Institute Shiptime Programme: Research/Teaching (CV19003). Secured funding: €40,000. Research Survey: Microplastics in Galway Bay. On board of the Irish RV Celtic Voyager. Duty: Chief scientist.
(4th–10th December 2017) Marine Institute Shiptime Programme: Research/Teaching (CV17039). Secured funding: €56,000 from the Marine Institute. Research Survey: Microplastics in Galway Bay. On board of the Irish RV Celtic Voyager. Duty: Chief scientist.
(17th-24th April, 2017) BASEMAN WP4 Microplastic sampling comparison cruise (BASEXPEMIPS 201704), on board the Spanish RV Ramón Margalef, off the coast of Galicia (NW Spain). Duty: Researcher.
Technical proficiency (IT)
Proficient in Mac OS X Leopard and Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10; Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook) and Apple Software (Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Mail) packages. Basic knowledge of Adobe Photoshop (image edition); Image-J (image edition); Google Earth Pro (Geographic Information System); Statistica7 (statistics software); Evernote (data organization); R (statistical computing language and graphical environment).
(2019) - Day Course: “Fish Health Workshop” with DVM Felix Scholz, FishVet Group, (6 hours), Galway, Ireland.
(2019) – Day Course: “Fundamentals of Project Management” with Keith Clarke, Protrain.ie. (8 hours), Galway, Ireland
(2019) – Legal Island e-course: “GDPR Compliance in the Republic of Ireland Workplace Fundamental”. On-line.
(2018-2019) Galway Actors Workshop with Sarah O’Toole and John Rogers. Several theatre courses (101, 201, heart is at play), Galway, Ireland. (Usually 6 weeks per course).
(2017) Bow Waves STCW Personal Sea Survival Techniques Course. (Full day) Galway, Ireland.
(2015) MARLISCO e-course: “Know, Feel, Act! To Stop Marine Litter” for non‑formal educators. Science Communication. (16 hours) On- line.
(2012) European Maritime Safety Agency and Portuguese National Maritime Authority marine pollution simulation and drill exercise “Xávega 2012”. (8 hours) Sesimbra, Portugal.
(2012) Methods of exam and analysis course with Maria João Melo at FCT‑UNL. Training in micro Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectroscopy (μ‑FTIR) (160 hours). Caparica, Portugal
(2011) Marine litter mini-course with Prof. Monica Ferreira Costa from Pernambuco Federal University at FCT-UNL (5 hours). Caparica, Portugal
(2011) Governance and Public Participation Course with Prof. Lia Vasconcelos and Dr. Ursula Caser at FCT-UNL. (18 hours). Caparica Portugal.
(2010) GESAMP International workshop on micro-plastic particles as a vector in transporting persistent, bioaccumulating and toxic substances in the oceans. FAO/UNESCO Headquarters. (30 hours) Paris, France. Report available here
(2010) Zona #3 - Pedagogic Project from Teatro do Vestido (TdV) (35h)
(2009) Beach Management Workshop with Prof. Allan Williams and Dr. Bruno Vaz, at the International Coastal Symposium (ICS 2009) (5 hours). Lisboa, Portugal.
(2017) MACNAS. Steward. Galway, Ireland. Description: Community engagement. Promotion of 2017 Halloween Parade in Galway. Reporting to Duty managers.
(2017) CLEAN COASTS. Beach Clean-up organiser. Description: Community engagement. Liaison with local authorities. Health and Safety officer.
(2015) TEATRO DE GIZ. Theatre performer. Horta, Faial, Portugal. Description: Performance artist. Main male character role in the show “Não se paga, não se paga” from Italian Nobel Prize in Literature, Dario Fo.
(2013-2017) ASSOCIAÇÃO PORTUGUESA DO LIXO MARINHO (APLM). Co-founder of APLM. Caparica, Portugal. Description: Scientific adviser for marine litter. International coordination manager with NGO’s in USA, Germany and Portuguese Speaking Countries Community in Africa and Asia. Beach clean-up organiser. Community/Social network administrator. Information coordinator of several documents in cooperation with the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Conference co-organiser. Budget manager. On-line duties.
(2010 and 2012) Wbmotion Kultur Verein (WBMOTION). European youth art project Feinprobe Honigsüss. (1-month per annum art residence). Theatre performer. Lutherstadt-Wittenberg, Germany. Description: Theatre and dance performance artist; dramaturge; scripter.
(2005-2010) NOVO NÚCLEO TEATRO (NNT). Theatre performer, producer and general director. Caparica, Portugal. Description: Project manager; Finance and Sales manager (ticket office and merchandising); Sales assistant; Theatre producer.; Performer artist; Community/Social network administrator. Shows: “L’herbe Rouge” from Boris Vian and directed by João Cleto; “Chez Kantor” based in the work of Tadeusz Kantor and directed by Pedro Manuel; “Film noir: dark narratives about breaking the natural order of things” based on the film noir movie genre and directed by Joana Craveiro. Blog available here.