Aquaculture, food security expert is URI’s next Distinguished Visiting International Scholar

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KINGSTON, R.I. – April 6, 2015 – Joao Ferreira, professor of environmental engineering at Portugal’s New University of Lisbon, will present two lectures next week as part of the University of Rhode Island’s Distinguished Visiting International Scholar’s program.

He will discuss “Coastal Systems, Sustainability, and Food Security” on Monday, April 13 at 4 p.m. in Swan Hall, 60 Upper College Road, followed by a presentation on “Modeling Analysis of Interactions Between Aquaculture and Natural Systems” on Thursday, April 16 at 4 p.m. in URI’s Carothers Library and Learning Commons, 15 Lippitt Road. Both events are free and open to the public.

“It’s a real honor to be able to bring Dr. Ferreira here,” said David Bengtson, URI professor of fisheries. “He’s an internationally renowned leader in developing models for assessing the interactions of aquaculture and the marine environment. But his interests are broader than that and include both science and management.”

Ferreira works with multidisciplinary teams on problems of coastal eutrophication and aquaculture carrying capacity on several continents. In the U.S., he has worked for many years on monitoring and assessment programs in coastal waters with URI alumna Suzanne Bricker of the National Ocean Service. Ferreira earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and oceanography and a doctorate in environmental science, and he has been on the faculty of the New University of Lisbon since 1989.

In his April 13 presentation, he will use examples from three continents to discuss the increasing pressures humans are exerting on coastal ecosystems and the increasing challenge people will face in feeding an ever-growing population.

“The United States currently imports about 90 percent of the seafood it consumes, and the situation in Europe is similar,” Ferreira said. “This presents a substantial food security challenge, and affects both employment and economic growth.”

His April 16 talk will examine the increasing need to expand aquaculture production around the world and his use of mathematical models to simulate ecosystems, assess production and analyze environmental effects.

“Mathematical models play a key role in supporting policy and help to determine site selection and carrying capacity for different species,” he said.

Ferreira’s visit is part of URI’s Distinguished Visiting International Scholars Program, which provides funding to bring scholars from outside the United States to meet with URI students, faculty and administrators and present a public lecture.

For more information on the lectures, contact David Bengtson at 401-874-2668 or