Miguel Bastos Araújo

Miguel Bastos Araújo (Brussels, 1969) is a biogeographer dedicated to understanding how different facets of life distribute in space and time, and why. He employs a wide range of data-driven and modelling approaches to explore how climate influences the distributions of species and controls complex properties and dynamics of communities. His research primarily focuses on the impacts of past, present, and future climate changes on Earth’s biological systems, using these changes as a spatiotemporal laboratory to deepen our understanding of ecological transformations. Additionally, he contributes to the development of theoretical frameworks that explain the underlying mechanisms governing biodiversity and ecosystem responses to climate change.

Miguel Araújo obtained a BSc in Geography and Regional Planning from NOVA University of Lisbon (1995), after a year of secondment at the University of Aberdeen. He read for an MSc in Conservation (1996) and a PhD in Geography (2000), both from the University College London. He is a Research Professor of the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) at the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid, and a Professor Chair of Biodiversity at the University of Évora, while maintaining an honorary position at the Imperial College London, where he previously held a Professor Chair in Integrative Biogeography. In the past, he also held faculty or research positions at the University of Oxford, University of Copenhagen, CNRS, and the Natural History Museum in London.

Academic contributions

The academic contributions of Prof. Araújo can be appraised by the track record of the scientists he mentored (over 60 researchers and students) and by the impact of his publications (ca. 300 publications), and the funding for research projects and tenders he helped to raise (>€77 million). He has been listed as ‘highly cited‘ by Thomson Reuters, yearly since 2014, and was listed in the Reuters Hot List of Top 1000 Climate Scientists (global position = 57; EU position = 11).

Prof. Araújo contributed to shape modern science of ecology and conservation by pioneering, in the late 90’s, the analyses of large biodiversity data sets, particularly species distributions data, to uncover patterns and mechanisms underlying the distribution of Life and to forecast the effects of global environmental change on biodiversity. More specifically, he devised new techniques for handling the large uncertainties associated with use of large species distributions data, and pioneered treatments of uncertainty in forecasts of biodiversity under global change. He introduced the concept of “ensemble forecasting” in ecology, and led the establishment of the first standards for data and models used in biodiversity assessments.

Following the steps of the proponents of systematic conservation planning methodologies and making use of large species distributions data, he was involved in the development of new approaches for establishing conservation priorities and guiding policy making the context of climate change. Overall, his work was instrumental to biogeography, climate change ecology, conservation biology, and macroecology, and some of his model-based assessments of biodiversity now underpin environmental policy reports by the EEA (European Environmental Agency), IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change), and IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services), amongst others.

Service

He served as Deputy Director of the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales in Madrid, leading the creation of the new scientific training department. In the “Museo” he also curated the permanent exhibition on “biodiversity, evolution and conservation” in the Museum. Previously he acted as Vice-President of the International Biogeography Society, where he laid the ground for turning the IBS newsletter into the journal Frontiers of Biogeography.

Since 2014, Miguel Araújo is Editor-in-Chief of Ecography (IF>6). Previously, he served as Deputy-Editor-in-Chief of the same journal, subject editor of the Journal of Biogeography, Conservation Letters, and Geography Compass, having been in the editorial boards of several journals.

As Vice-President of the Grand Jury and Chair of the Expert’s Committee of the Gulbenkian Foundation Award for Humanity he has, first, assisted President Jorge Sampaio and, then, Chancellor Angela Merkel, in the selection of high-profile climate champions.

He regularly supports science funding organisations in evaluating grant proposals. Amongst several of such organisations, he regularly supports the BBVA Foundation in evaluating research projects in ecology and conservation, as well as nominations for Biodiversity Conservation Awards, the Biophilia Award, and Frontiers of Knowledge Award.

In the realm of science advisory roles, he serves as President of the Natural and Environmental Science’s Scientific Advisory Committee of the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT). Additionally, he is a member of the scientific committee of the Spanish Gadea Science Foundation, and part of the ‘Independent Scientific Evaluation Group’ (ISEG) for NATO’s Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme.

In the sphere of environmental policy advisory, he is member of the National Council of the Environment and Sustainable Development (CNADS) by appointment of the Council of Ministers of Portugal. He previously served in the scientific committee of DIVERSITAS’ bioDISCOVERY programme and contributed to the 2007 4th Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change Assessment Report, for which the IPCC shared the Nobel Peace Prize. Furthermore he has been made a permanent member to the “Alto Consejo Consultivo de I+D+I” of the Presidency of the “Generalitat y del Gobierno Valenciano”, Spain.

Recognitions

In recognition of his work, Prof. Araújo received several prestigious honours and awards, including:

Appointed Corresponding Member of the Lisbon Academy of Sciences (2023), in the section of Geography and Territorial Planning.

Awarded the “Visão” Green Prize (2023), for his “Além Risco” project, bridging the gap between theory and practice in the use of nature-based solutions for climate change adaptation.

Awarded honorary membership to the College of Biologists of Portugal (2020), for “his contributions to the development of biology”. First time given to a non-biologist individual.

EEF (European Ecological Federation) Ernst Haeckel Prize (2019) to “honour senior scientists for their outstanding contribution to European ecological science”.

Portuguese National Environmental Fernando Pereira Award (2019) given for notable contributions to environmental conservation;

Pessoa Prize (2018) awarded to “Portuguese citizens whose contributions have been particularly relevant in the domains of arts, literature, or science”;

Rey Jaime I Prize (2016) awarded to researchers who contributed “to the improvement of our ecological environment”;

Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award (2014);

IBS (International Biogeography Society) MacArthur & Wilson Award (2013), given to an individual “for notable, innovative contributions to biogeography at an early stage in their career”;

GBIF (Global Information Biodiversity Facility) Ebbe Nielsen Prize (2013) awarded to researchers that “combine biosystematics and biodiversity informatics in an exciting and novel way”.