Bárbara Horta e Costa

Bárbara Horta e Costa

Research fellow

E-mail: barbarahcosta@gmail.com


:: Research interests

B.H.C. has been studying MPAs. Her skills have been developed around the science of MPAs, concerning ecological and management aspects.

Her various experiences gave her knowledge about different impacts of protection measures and factors influencing them. Main subjects were the:

- Impacts of protection vs. fisheries in marine species

- Influence of species habitats-association in MPAs performance

- Influence of different species life traits and commercial values in the MPA success

- Influence of various temporal and spatial scales in the ecological responses (seasonal variation, spawning, recruitment and growth periods, variability among and within years)

- Influence of oceanographic variables and climate change in fish communities’ composition

- Impact of fishing effort density and distribution in the performance of no-take and multiple-use MPAs

- Preferences of artisanal fisheries

- Influence of fishing closures and different protection measures in fisheries re-distribution


Current project

“BUFFER: Partially protected areas as buffers to increase the linked social-ecological resilience in coastal ecosystems” - B.H.C tasks: Evaluate the impact of different uses in partially protected areas (PPAs). Several UVCs to gather data from the Portuguese case study, to assess ecological responses according to fish traits. Gathering and systematizing information about PPAs. Data base management. Data analysis. Participation in scientific publications.



:: Other projects

- “BIOMARES: Management and Restoration of Biodiversity in the Marine Park Site Arrábida-Espichel”. B.H.C. tasks: Design and planning field work. Monitoring (UVC) ecological responses to the protection measures (rocky reefs and seagrasses). Fisheries surveys. Data analysis. Reports and scientific publications. Project supporting PhD study (2008-2012).


- Contribution to a project aiming to develop mitigation measures of the bycatch of deep sea sharks in the Portuguese Fishery of Aphanopus carbo (through SeaExpert to FAO) - B.H.C. tasks: develop models to understand biotic and abiotic factors related to the proportion and abundance of bycatches (2012).

- Portuguese contribution (NGO) to Natura 2000 to marine areas (through Sciaena - voluntary work) - objectives were the definition and identification of sensitive areas and species in the Portuguese archipelagos for the Natura 2000 to marine areas. B.H.C. tasks: Gathering and organizing information about species and habitats in Portuguese waters (archipelagos). Contact with public institutions, with administrations, research groups, NGOs, etc (2010).

- Projecto Pyrá – Integrated research program for the conservation of the natural resources of the floodplains, objectives were co-management, sustainability and conservation of aquatic resources of the floodplain areas in the Amazonia aquatic reserves. B.H.C. tasks: Participation in a master thesis evaluating artisanal fisheries in aquatic fisheries reserves in the Amazonia forest. Collection of socio-economic information through questionnaires and interviews to local communities and experimental fishing (using gillnets) in different Amazonian lakes with the help of local guides (2003).

- Participation in EMEPC/MARBIS/Selvagens 2010 expedition onboard NTM Creoula. Participation in the characterization of infra-littoral biological communities by scuba diving techniques (2010).

- Participation in a marine environment impact evaluation – assessing marine fauna by scuba diving (Centro de Biociências – ISPA) (2010).

- Voluntary (2 months - 2003) on the Aquatic Ecology Department of the Amazonian National Research Institute, Brazil doing several functions. 

- Voluntary training in Lisbon Aquarium (2 months - 2001) – Oceanário de Lisboa.

- Voluntary collaboration at several field excursions with masters and graduate students – University of Algarve, Portugal (2001-2005).


:: Scientific Publications

Horta e Costa, B., Assis, J., Franco, G., Caselle, J. E., Erzini, K., Henriques, M. & Gonçalves, E. J. in press. Tropicalization of fish assemblages at temperate biogeographic transition zones. Marine Ecology Progress Series.


Horta e Costa, B., Gonçalves, L. & Gonçalves, E. J. 2013. Vessels’ site fidelity and spatio-temporal distribution of artisanal fisheries before the implementation of a temperate multiple-use marine protected area. Fisheries Research, 148: 27-37.


Horta e Costa, B., Erzini, K., Caselle, J.E., Folhas, H., Gonçalves, E.J. 2013. The reserve effect within a temperate marine protected area in the north-eastern Atlantic (the Arrábida Marine Park, Portugal). Marine Ecology Progress Series, 481: 11-24.


Horta e Costa, B., Batista, M. I., Gonçalves, L., Erzini, K., Caselle, J. E., Cabral, H. N. & Gonçalves, E. J. 2013. Fishers’ Behaviour in Response to the Implementation of a Marine Protected Area. PLoS One, 8: e65057


Horta e Costa, B. & Gonçalves, E. J. 2013. First occurrence of the Monrovia doctorfish Acanthurus monroviae (Perciformes: Acanthuridae) in European Atlantic waters. Marine Biodiversity Records, 6: e20. Doi: 10.1017/s1755267213000055.


:: Other publications

- Participation in a book about the Sesimbra town and its fishing culture: “Mares de Sesimbra – História, Memória e Gestão de Uma Frente Marítima, em torno de “A Indústria da Pesca em Sesimbra” de Baldaque da Silva (1897)” (book launched in October 2013).

- Contribution to an article in a Portuguese influent newspaper (Público – 4th July 2013): http://www.publico.pt/ciencias/jornal/cientistas-dizem-que-ha-mais-e-maiores-peixes-no-parque-marinho-da-arrabida-26777398#/0

- Contribution to an article in the Portuguese edition of the National Geographic Society magazine (July 2012)

- Participation in a well known Portuguese TV show about environmental conservation (RTP2: Biosfera – June 2010)


:: PhD Thesis

2013: “The effect of conservation measures on the spatial and temporal variation of rocky fish assemblages in the Arrábida Marine Park, Portugal”. Universidade do Algarve, Faro/ ISPA (instituição de acolhimento principal), Lisboa. 


:: Master Thesis

Masters - Distribution and abundance of commercial fish in and around the Marine Protected Area (MPA) of Punta Frances, Cuba. UAlg – Faro; Centro de Investigaciones Marinas (CIM) at Cuba (host institution)


:: Areas of scientific activity

- Marine protected areas (MPAs);

- MPAs performance;

- Multiple use MPAs;

- The ecological effects of different protection measures (no-takes, partially protected areas, buffer areas);

- Species interactions and dynamics;

-The impacts of protection vs. fisheries in marine species;

-The influence of species habitats-association in MPAs performance;

-The influence of different species life traits and commercial values in the MPA success;

-The influence of various temporal and spatial scales in the ecological responses (seasonal variation, spawning, recruitment and growth periods, variability among and within years);

-The influence of oceanographic variables and climate change in fish communities’ composition;

-The impact of fishing effort density and distribution in the performance of no-take and multiple-use MPAs;

-Artisanal fisheries;

-Conservation ecology;

-Marine ecology, species dynamics, biodiversity


- Scientific diving - Approximate 250 dives.


:: Other scientific interests

Connectivity, MPAs networks performance, ecological and socio-economic resilience of MPAs and coastal populations, climate change, etc.


:: Other competences

Softwares: R software (statistics - several packages) – GLM, GAM, ZERO INFLATED DATA, MRT, etc.; Primer & Permanova (multivariate statistics); Office (access, excel); ArcGIS and QGIS.


Vice-president (2010-2012; President between 2006-March 2010) and co-founder of a Non-governmental organization (NGO) – Sciaena - Marine Sciences and Cooperation. http://geralsciaena.wix.com/sciaena. Sciaena is co-coordinator of the National Coalition of Fisheries (PONG-Pesca). http://pongpesca.wordpress.com/


Participation in several projects such as in some actions of the project Margov which aimed to bring collaborating governance and management to MPAs, in the Arrábida Marine Park.


:: Tutoring

In the first semester of 2014 B.H.C is teaching a course at ISPA at the Masters of Marine Biology and Conservation. The course is called the Ocean Governance and Marine Protected Areas.

During 2009, B.H.C. co-supervised a Master thesis (design, field work, data analysis, scientific writing) in the Arrábida Marine Park entitled: “Habitat associations and behavioural patterns of Symphodus spp., at the Arrábida Marine Park”.


During the stay at Cuba, at the Punta Francés MPA, two different classes of master students from Wales and Canada stayed in the research vessel. The applicant helped in the students’ classes as well as in their diving (approx 30 students). 


She had different technicians and students she had to lead in the field and in the lab. She helped and contributed to different thesis and studies, resulting in her multidisciplinary, adaptation to different situations and her ability to relate different subjects.


Horários e Contactos

Dias da semana

das 09:00h às 13:00h


tel +351 218 811 740