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Anabela Maia - April 2010
on Monday, 19/04/2010 — Rossana Andrea Novo Lopes Henriques

Nome: Anabela Maia
E-mail: amaia@mail.uri.edu
Year of Birth: 1981
Place of birth: Coimbra, Portugal
City of residence: Wakefield, RI
Personal webpage/blog:
Time in the US: 3 years 
Undergraduate Degree: Licenciatura in Applied Biology to Animal Resources
Postgraduate Degree: Under way, Portugal
Current professional status: PhD candidate in Biological Sciences at University of Rhode Island
Professional interests: Functional morphology, Locomotion, Elasmobranchs, Physiological Ecology, Biomechanics.
Best career achievement: Fulbright Scholarship

What brought you to the USA?
The perspective of pursuing a PhD with coursework while doing research in Elasmobrachs (Sharks, rays and skates).

What are you currently working on?
My PhD thesis project is on the functional morphology of shark dorsal fins during steady swimming and maneuvering. I am looking at two shark species, white spotted bamboo sharks and spiny dogfish and evaluating if the dorsal fins are used as thrusters or stabilizers. I use a flow tank and a round tank to elicit different behaviors and record high speed video, muscle activity data and visualize the fluid flow around the fins.

What conditions do you have here that you do not have in Portugal?
To start, a flow tank that occupies a whole building. Now, seriously, the ease to collaborate with different institutions, greater choice of graduate level classes from different departments and better access to brand new technology.

What are your future plans?
My ultimate plan is to hold a teaching and research faculty position, preferably at a Portuguese University where I can investigate the biomechanics of fish swimming. I plan to graduate in a year and pursue a post-doctoral position in Europe.

Why did you join PAPS?
The possibility of increasing my professional network together with the perspective of meeting new Portuguese people in academia in the US was what led me to join PAPS.


Favourite source of news from Portugal: Público, RTP, Ciência Hoje

Daily life (weekdays): Running experiments, analyzing data in the computer, and taking care of the animals. Experiments are all day events and normally take place at the URI Bay Campus, at the end of the day I normally have 15Gb of new data. The previous day is normally spent preparing and testing the equipment. Data analyzing is probably the most time consuming. Taking care of the animals involves vacuuming tanks and feeding the animals, sharks like squid, shrimp, silversides, herring and mackerel.

Daily life (weekend): Normally catching up on scientific reading, some analysis and writing and plenty of outdoor activities whenever I get the chance: hiking, sailing, skiing and biking.

Other interests: Travelling, reading for fun, attending conferences, engaging in a good scientific discussion.