Maria Ana Dias

Maria Ana Dias

Research fellow



Phone: + 351 21 8811700

Fax: + 351 21 8860954

Curriculum vitae



:: Research interests


- Behavioural ecology and conservation of seabirds

- Ecology and conservation of waders in estuarine environments

- Wetlands management

- Geographic Information Systems



:: Current research project


As Principal Investigator:


Foraging ecology, movements and abundance of an avian predator of mesopelagic prey: new and deeper insights using novel techniques and ideas. (funded by FCT: PTDC/MAR/121071/2010)

This project will carry out the first detailed ecological study of a flying predator of mesopelagic prey, the Bulwer’s petrel Bulweria bulwerii. We will give particular emphasis on the foraging ecology of this species, by studying its diet using different approaches (DNA-based, isotopic and conventional methods) and its local and migratory movements with new miniaturised GPS loggers. We also aim to develop a new method for estimating numbers of impossible-to-count abundant burrow-nesting seabirds.

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As Team Member

Atlantic ocean-wide changes in sea surface temperature and trends on Cory’s shearwater foraging success, migration and population dynamics. (funded by FCT: PTDC/MAR/71927/2006)

This project will study the relationships between climate fluctuations (particularly variation in sea surface temperature) and the behaviour, physiology and demography of a pelagic top marine predator, the Cory’s shearwater Calonectris diomedea

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Learning from the flight of the Albatross: causes and consequences of individual foraging strategies, with links to demography, oceanography and fisheries (funded by FCT: PTDC/MAR/099366/2008)

The main goal of this project is to achieve a very detailed understanding of 1) the factors determining the individual foraging strategies of Black-browed albatrosses Thalassarche melanophris; 2) the mechanisms through which these factors operate and 

3) the implications of individual decisions on fitness and on population demography.

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Invisible links: unveiling origins of migratory waders using biogeochemical markers (funded by FCT: PTDC/MAR/119920/2010)

The main aims of this project are (1) to develop and interpret the isotopic profile of the trophic webs (leading to waders) at key wintering sites across the East Atlantic Flyway and (2) to use this knowledge to pinpoint the wintering grounds of migratory waders at staging areas during spring migration.

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:: Publications


Dias, M. P., Lecoq, M., Moniz, F. & Rabaça, J. E. (in press). Can Human-made Saltpans Represent an Alternative Habitat for Shorebirds? Implications for a Predictable Loss of Estuarine Sediment Flats. Environmental Management. DOI 10.1007/s00267-013-0195-5


Carreira, B. M., Dias, M. P. & Rebelo, R. (in press). How consumption and fragmentation of macrophytes by the invasive crayfish Procambarus clarkii shape the macrophyte communities of temporary ponds. Hydrobiologia. Doi: 10.1007/s10750-013-1651-1


Dias, M.P., Granadeiro, J.P. & Catry, P. (2013). Individual variability in the migratory path and stopovers of a long-distance pelagic migrant. Animal Behaviour. 86: 359-364.doi:


Catry, P., Dias, M.P., Phillips, R. & Granadeiro, J.P. (2013). Carry-over effects from breeding modulate the annual cycle of a long-distance migrant. An experimental demonstration. Ecology 94: 1230–1235. doi:


Brito, A. C., Ismaїl Benyoucef, I., Jesus, B., Brotas, V., Gernez, P., Mendes, C. R., Launeau, P., Dias, M. P. & Barillé, L. (2013). Seasonality of microphytobenthos revealed by remote-sensing in a South European estuary. Continental Shelf Research. 66: 83–91. doi:


Dias MP, Granadeiro JP, Catry P (2012) Do Seabirds Differ from Other Migrants in Their Travel Arrangements? On Route Strategies of Cory’s Shearwater during Its Trans-Equatorial Journey. PLoS ONE 7(11): e49376. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049376 pdf


Dias MP, Granadeiro JP, Catry P (2012) Working the day or the night shift? Foraging schedules of Cory’s shearwaters vary according to marine habitat. Marine Ecology Progress Series 467: 245–252. doi: 10.3354/meps09966 


Ramos R, Granadeiro JP, Nevoux M, Mougin J-L-, Dias MP, Catry P. 2012. Combined spatio-temporal impacts of climate and longline fisheries on the survival of a trans-equatorial marine migrant. PLoS ONE 7(7): e40822. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040822 pdf


Catry, P., Dias, M.P., Phillips, R.A., Granadeiro, J.P. 2011. Different means to the same end: long-distance migrant seabirds from two colonies differ in behaviour, despite common wintering grounds. PLoS One 6(10): e26079. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026079 pdf


Tomé, R., Dias, M. P. Chumbinho, A. C. & Bloise, C. 2011. Influence of perch height and vegetation structure on the foraging behaviour of Little Owls Athene noctua: how to achieve the same success in two distinct habitats. Ardea 99: 17-26. 


Catry, T., Alves, J.A., Andrade, J., Costa, H., Dias, M.P., Fernandes, P., Leal, A., Lourenço, P., Martins, R., Moniz, F., Pardal, S., Rocha, A., Santos, C.D., Encarnação, V. & Granadeiro, J.P.2011. Long-term declines of wader populations at the Tagus estuary, Portugal: a response to global or local factors? Bird Conservation International 21: 438-455.


Catry, I., Dias, M.P., Catry, T., Afanasyev, V., Fox, J., Franco, A. & Sutherland, W. 2011. Individual variation in migratory movements and winter behaviour of Iberian Lesser Kestrels Falco naumanni revealed by geolocators. Ibis. 153: 154-164.


Dias, M.P., Granadeiro, J.P., Phillips, R., Alonso, H. & Catry, P. 2011. Breaking the routine: individual Cory’s shearwaters shift winter destinations between hemispheres and across ocean basins. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 278: 1786-1793. doi:10.1098/rspb.2010.2114  pdf


Dias, M.P., Granadeiro, J.P., & Palmeirim, J.M. (2009). Searching behaviour of foraging waders: does feeding success influence their walking? Animal Behaviour 77: 1203-1209.


Dias, M.P. (2009). Use of Saltpans by wintering shorebirds along the tidal cycle. Waterbirds 35: 531-537.


Dias, M.P., Peste, F., Granadeiro, J.P., & Palmeirim, J.M. (2008). Does traditional shellfishing affect foraging by waders? The case of the Tagus estuary (Portugal). Acta Oecologica 33: 186-196.


Mendes, L., Dias, M.P. & Rufino, R. (2008). Assessment of the importance of non-estuarine coastal habitats for wintering waders in Portugal – January / February 2000. pp. 59–63. In: N. Burton, M. Rehfisch, D. Stroud & C. Spray (eds). The European Non-Estuarine Coastal Waterbird Survey. International Wader Studies 18. International Wader Study Group, Thetford, UK.


Granadeiro, J.P., Santos, C.D., Dias, M.P., & Palmeirim, J.M. (2007). Environmental factors drive habitat partitioning in birds feeding in intertidal flats: implications for conservation. Hydrobiologia 587:291-302.


Dias, M.P., Granadeiro, J.P., Lecoq, M., Santos, C.D. & Palmeirim, J.M. (2006) Distance to high-tide roosts constrains the use of foraging areas by dunlins: implications for the management of estuarine wetlands. Biological Conservation 131: 446-452.


Dias, M.P., Granadeiro, J.P., Martins, R.C. & Palmeirim, J.M. (2006) Estimating the use of tidal flats by waders: bias due to response of birds to the tidal cycle. Bird Study 53: 32-38.


Granadeiro, J.P., Dias, M.P., Martins, R. C. & Palmeirim, J.M. (2006). Variation in numbers and behaviour of waders during the tidal cycle: implications for the use of estuarine sediment flats. Acta Oecologica 29:293-300.


Granadeiro, J.P., Dias, M.P., Rebelo, R., Santos, C.D. & Catry, P. (2006) Numbers and Population Trends of Cory’s Shearwater Calonectris diomedea at Selvagem Grande, Northeast Atlantic. Waterbirds 29: 56-60.



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