Dr. Antonio J. Castro, Research Assistant Professor
I am a Research Assistant Professor in Ecosystem Services and Social-Ecological System Science at the Department of Biological Sciences at Idaho State University. I am an ecosystem services ecologist with a broad interest in conservation biology, particularly looking at the links between the conservation of natural systems and the maintenance of human wellbeing. My research interest focuses on the characterization of social-ecological systems, and the multidimensional assessment of ecosystem services. On one hand, I use existing GIS and ecological models such as InVEST or ARIES to quantify the biophysical capacity of ecosystems to provide services (supply side). On the other hand, I use social sciences to conduct samplings in order to understand people´s perceptions and preferences to characterize the social demand of ecosystem services. To do so, I consider the diverse ecosystem services values, both ecological and sociocultural and economic. My ultimate goal is to characterize tradeoffs and synergies between ecosystem services in order to understand the complex dynamics of coupled natural and human systems.
Throughout my scientific life I have collaborated with various international research centers. During my PhD period, I collaborate in Argentina with Dr. José Paruelo from the Institute of Physiological and Ecological Research (IFEVA) at the University of Buenos Aires, and with Dr. Javier Cabello, Dr. Domingo Alcaraz, Dr. Enrique López, and Dr. Pedro Aguilera from the Center for the assessment of Global Change (CAESCG) at University of Almería (Spain). I am also extensively collaborating since 2006 with Dr. Berta Martín-López, and Dr. Marina García Llorente from the Social-Ecological System Laboratory at the Autonomous University of Madrid. During my postdoc research I first travelled to Australia and worked as a visiting researcher with Dr. Gary W. Luck at the Institute for Land, water and Society (ILWS), and later with Dr. Peter Verburg at the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) at the VU University Amsterdam. In November 2012, in collaboration with Dr. Caryn Vaughn at the Oklahoma Biological Survey (US), I began a project implementing an Ecosystem Services Framework to explore the value of ecosystem services provided by the Kiamichi River watershed in southeastern Oklahoma. In 2015, I started the Social-Ecological Research Lab at ISU where I work as part of the team of the MILES program to advance the understanding of feedbacks between social and ecological systems and ecosystem services in Idaho mid-sized cities in the face of climate change and urban growth.
Since 2014 I serve as team leader of the Dryland Working Group at the Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP). In 2016 I started leading and coordinating the WaterSES project, an international initiative endorsed to the Program for Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS). The WaterSES project is an interdisciplinary group working to understand and compare the social-ecological dynamics causing and caused by water scarcity in four very different watersheds in Spain, Oklahoma, and Idaho with the goal of finding sustainable solutions to balance the water needs of nature and society.