Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities


BIODECON - Which biodiversity definition for biodiversity conservation

Biodecon header

“BIODECON—Which biodiversity definition for biodiversity conservation?” is a research project funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (PTDC/IVC-HFC/1817/2014, P.I. Elena Casetta), hosted by the Center for Philosophy of Science of the University of Lisbon. It has two aims: to put forward the formal and material constraints that a definition of biodiversity should satisfy in order to be effective in conservation actions; and to relate these constraints with conservation policies, by taking into account both the scientific and societal challenges implied in conserving biodiversity.

Chairs: Matthias Kaiser & Jeroen van der Sluijs


Silvia Di Marco & Elena Casetta "Defining biodiversity"
Silvia Di Marco studied Biology (specialization in Ecology and Plant Physiology) and Science Communication at the University of Milan. In 2015 she obtained her PhD in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Lisbon, with a dissertation on the epistemic role of images in contemporary biomedicine. Currently she is a post-doctoral fellow in Biodecon. She works on the problem of defining and measuring biodiversity and on the relationship between biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services. She is a member of the Center for Philosophy of Science of the University of Lisbon.

Elena Casetta is a Train2Move (Marie-Curie Actions) Fellow and the Principal Investigator of Biodecon. Her areas of specialization are Philosophy of Biology, Analytic Ontology, and Metaphysics. Among her books: “La sfida delle chimere. Realismo, pluralismo e convenzionalismo in filosofia della biologia” [The Chimeras' Challenge. Realism, Pluralism, and Conventionalism in Philosophy of Biology], Milano, Mimesis, 2009; “Filosofia della biologia” [Philosophy of Biology], Roma, Carocci, 2013, authored with Andrea Borghini; “La biodiversité en question. Enjeux philosophiques et scientifiques” [Biodiversity under question. Philosophical and scientific issues], Paris, Les Éditions Materiologiques (2014), edited with Julien Delord.

Carina Silva: "Exploring the commonsensical meaning of biodiversity"
Carina Silva is an environmental biologist with a PhD in Climate Change and Sustainable Development Policies – Specialization in Environmental Sciences (University of Lisbon). She has developed research in biodiversity conservation and environmental impact assessment and monitoring. Her research interests lies at the intersection of natural/biological science (particularly biodiversity conservation) and socio-economics (particularly environmental perception and economic valuation), to support decision-making as regards biodiversity conservation. She is a post-doctoral fellow in Biodecon. She is a member of the Center for Philosophy of Science of the University of Lisbon.

Jorge Marques da Silva: "Biodiversity, biotechnology and food security"
Jorge Marques da Silva is a plant physiologist. He is assistant professor in the Department of Plant Biology of the Faculty of Science, University of Lisbon. He has a PhD in Biology and works on the mechanisms of response to stress, with a specific focus on the effects of drought stress on photosynthetic metabolism. His main area of research concerns the impairment of plants primary productivity under abiotic stress. He is also interested in science/society relations and teaches and makes research in Global Bioethics, mainly on Environmental Ethics issues. He is a member of Biodecon.

Jeanette Tennebekk (UiB): "Different perspectives on valuation of two cultural landscapes in a Norwegian village" Jeanette Tennebekk is a Research Assistant at the Department of Biology. She recently took her Master of Science in Biology at the Department of Biology at the University of Bergen, in cooperation with the Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities (SVT) in Bergen. For her master-project she studied the difference in valuation of nature between research, management and local societies in the context of nature conservation management. 

Paula Ungar: "Walking the lines: mapping contested ecosystems for conservation" Paula Ungar is a biologist with a PhD in Environmental Sciences from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. She has developed research on the intersection between conservation science and practice in Colombia, where she has also worked with governmental conservation related institutions. She is a fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich, where she is reflecting upon a research project in which she was involved for the last four years, aimed at delineating so called "strategic" upper mountain ecosystems for their legal protection.