Welcome on board, Sebastian | - CCMAR -

Welcome on board, Sebastian


Of 573 candidates for the INPhINIT program of the Fundação "la Caixa", only 35 were awarded PhD scholarships. This highly competitive program aims to appeal to talented early-stage researchers of any nationality to pursue a PhD at Spanish or Portuguese research centres of excellence. Sebastian Kraft, from Chile, was one of the winners who had the opportunity to choose where to carry out his PhD. Among the more than 800 offers that the research centres provided, Sebastian chose to do his PhD at CCMAR, under the coordination of our researcher David Abecasis. Welcome to our team, Sebastian!

Why did you choose CCMAR to do your PhD?
I have always been fascinated by sharks and rays, and because of their vulnerability to the increasing anthropogenic pressures of recent decades, I’m interested in working for their conservation and management. When looking for PhD programs, CCMAR, and the Fisheries, Biodiversity and Conservation group, struck me as a place that would provide me with an enriching environment to develop as a researcher and contribute to these goals.
Tell us a bit about the work you are/will be doing at CCMAR.
I will be studying the long-term movement patterns of a number of ray and skate species in the Arrábida Marine Park, using acoustic telemetry. I will also be looking into their social relations and genetics. The goal is to understand how individuals of these species move and use their habitats, in order to evaluate the Marine Park’s effectiveness in providing them with spatial protection. 
What were you doing before you joined us? 
I worked at the Molecular Ecology Laboratory at the Universidad de Chile, mostly studying dolphins and whales. By using their DNA, we answered questions regarding their ecology and evolution. I was also involved in Antarctic studies, mostly doing fieldwork and laboratory work for a project on spiny plunderfishes (Harpagifer spp.). 
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I enjoy sports, especially swimming and indoor bouldering. I also like reading, I’m particularly keen on science-fiction, horror and popular science. Spending time with friends also takes up a lot of my free time. A friend and I had an incipient nanobrewery, which felt a little bit too much like work at times but was very fun.