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Sasha Vasconcelos

Sasha Vasconcelos
I'm interested in understanding how arthropods and their associated ecosystem services, particularly natural biocontrol, are affected by agricultural spread and intensification.


Currently I'm a postdoc in the biodiversity and biocontrol lab at SLU, where I'm working with Miriam Karlsson and Mattias Jonsson to investigate how tomato fields in West and East Africa (Benin and Tanzania) can be managed to both enhance natural enemies and hinder the build-up of tomato pests. From among the communities of native natural enemies, we also aim to identify species with potential for augmentative biocontrol against the main lepidopteran pests of tomato in these regions.


From 2017-2022 I conducted my PhD at CIBIO-InBIO (Portugal), in collaboration with the SLU Ecology Department. The focus of my thesis was to understand how arthropod diversity, abundance and community composition, as well as the potential for natural biocontrol, are influenced by the intensification of olive farming in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

Prior to this (2012-2016), I worked as a research fellow at CIBIO-InBIO and the former Lisbon Tropical Research Institute, conducting taxonomic revisions of Afrotropical butterfly collections. In parallel, I carried out research focused on the ecology and conservation of arthropods, with collaborations in projects examining the biodiversity impacts of cashew monoculture expansion in West Africa (Guinea-Bissau), and of EU afforestation schemes in Mediterranean open farmland (Portugal).   

Selected publications

The complete list of publications can be found on Google Scholar.

Vasconcelos S, Pina S, Jonsson M, Heleno R, Herrera JM, Moreira F, Silva B, Melguizo-Ruiz N, Daouti E, Jiménez-Navarro G, Beja P. 2023. Mixed effects of oak woodlands on biocontrol potential and pest pressure in olive orchards under management intensification. Journal of Pest Science.

Vasconcelos S, Pina S, Herrera JM, Silva B, Sousa P, Porto M, Melguizo-Ruiz N, Jiménez-Navarro G, Ferreira S, Moreira F, Heleno R, Jonsson M & Beja P. 2022. Canopy arthropod declines along a gradient of olive farming intensification. Scientific Reports, 12, 17273.

Vasconcelos S, Jonsson M, Heleno R, Moreira F & Beja P. 2022. A meta-analysis of biocontrol potential and herbivore pressure in olive crops: does integrated pest management make a difference? Basic and Applied Ecology, 63, 115-124.

Herrera JM, Silva B, Jiménez‑Navarro G, Barreiro S, Melguizo‑Ruiz N, Moreira F, Vasconcelos S, Morgado R & Rodriguez‑Pérez J. 2021. A food web approach reveals the vulnerability of biocontrol services by birds and bats to landscape modification at regional scale. Scientific Reports, 11, 23662.

Costa A, Silva B, Jiménez-Navarro G, Barreiro S, Melguizo-Ruiz N, Rodríguez-Pérez J, Vasconcelos S, Beja P, Moreira F & Herrera JM. 2020. Structural simplification compromises the potential of common insectivorous bats to provide biocontrol services against the major olive pest Prays oleae. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 287, 106708.

Vasconcelos S, Pina S, Reino L, Beja P, Moreira F, Sánchez-Oliver JS, Catry I, Faria J, Rotenberry JT & Santana J. 2019. Long-term consequences of agricultural policy decisions: How are forests planted under EEC regulation 2080/92 affecting biodiversity 20 years later? Biological Conservation, 236, 393-403.

Cancela JP, Vasconcelos S. 2019. Ornamental plantings of Arbutus unedo L. facilitate colonisations by Charaxes jasius (Linnaeus, 1767) in Madrid province, central Spain. Nota Lepidopterologica, 42, 63-68. DOI 10.3897/nl.42.34620

Pina S, Vasconcelos S, Reino L, Santana J, Beja P, Sánchez-Oliver JS, Catry I, Moreira F, Ferreira S. 2017. The Orthoptera of Castro Verde Special Protection Area (Southern Portugal): new data and conservation value. ZooKeys, 691, 19–48.

Bivar-de-Sousa A, Vasconcelos S, Mendes LF, Larsen TB, Baker J & Guilherme JL. 2016. Butterflies of Guinea-Bissau: VIII. New data, new reports, corrections and biodiversity (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea). Zootaxa, 4201, 001-007.

Pinho P, Correia O, Lecoq M, Munzi S, Vasconcelos S, Gonçalves P, Rebelo R, Antunes C, Silva P, Freitas C, Lopes N, Santos-Reis M & Branquinho C. 2016. Evaluating green infrastructure in urban environments using a multi-taxa and functional diversity approach. Environmental Research, 147, 601-610.

Vasconcelos S, Rodrigues P, Palma L, Mendes LF, Palminha A, Catarino L & Beja P. 2015. Through the eye of a butterfly: Assessing biodiversity impacts of cashew expansion in West Africa. Biological Conservation, 191, 779-786.

Vasconcelos S, Mendes LF, Beja P, Hodgson CJ & Catarino L. 2014. New records of insect pest species associated with cashew, Anacardium occidentale L. (Anacardiaceae), in Guinea-Bissau. African Entomology, 22, 673-677.



Postdoctor at the Department of Ecology; NJ, Agricultural Entomology Unit
Postal address:
Inst för Ekologi, Box 7044
750 07 UPPSALA
Visiting address: Ulls väg 16, Uppsala