dr. C (Catarina) Castro Pauperio Vila Pouca

dr. C (Catarina) Castro Pauperio Vila Pouca

Postdoctoral researcher

I have had a passion for sharks for as long as I can remember and decided early on I would become a shark biologist. For me, fishes and sharks are stunning and fascinating creatures, and the fear they instigate in most people comes from knowing very little about their behaviour and intelligence. I figured that studying shark cognition would allow me to spend a lot of time in the water with sharks and could be a good way of changing public perception of these amazing animals.

 I completed an undergraduate degree in Biology in 2010 and a masters in Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution in 2012, both at the University of Porto, Portugal. My masters research focused on spatial dynamics and habitat use of pelagic sharks in the North Atlantic.

During 2013-2015, I was a research assistant and lab manager at the Animal Learning and Behavior Lab at the University of Minho, Portugal, which contributed to build up my knowledge on the principles of animal behaviour.

In 2015, I was awarded a highly competitive Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarship to investigate elasmobranch cognition at The Fish Lab. My research aimed to fill in some gaps in current knowledge on shark cognition, as well as explore some mechanisms of cognition such as personality and laterality. In September 2018, I was proudly awarded a PhD in Biological Sciences by Macquarie University, Australia.

I am currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in Alex Kotrschals lab. Our lab uses guppies from Trinidad to investigate the role of predation in cognitive and brain evolution.

I am committed to share my research with a vast audience and promote a positive image of fish and sharks as sophisticated and fascinating animals that deserve our empathy and protection.