Maria J. Santos' research aims at understanding the co-evolution of social-ecological systems. She examines the impact of land use decisions on biodiversity, resource provisioning and ecosystem services. For that purpose, she combines natural and social sciences and their methods, i.e. field methods, GIS, remote sensing, statistical modeling, historical archival research, and conservation biology.
Before joining the University of Zurich, she was Assistant Professor at Utrecht University, Netherlands. She obtained her PhD in Ecology from the University of California Davis, USA, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California Berkeley and at Stanford University, USA.
With Maria J. Santos' appointment, the University of Zurich strengthens the research and teaching in Earth System Science, a highly interdisciplinary field of increasing relevance to address key societal and political issues in the next decades. The professorship will be actively involved in the University Research Priority Program (URPP) on Global Change and Biodiversity and will substantially contribute to the development of the course catalogue of the new degree program Earth System Science.