The Graduate Program in Ecology (PPGECO) at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN) is currently ranked 6 by CAPES, the Brazilian National Agency that evaluates our Graduate Program. Programs reaching grades 6 and 7 are considered of excellence, with high degree of internationalization and high production in tier 1 journals. It is a pioneering program in the northeastern region of Brazil, having trained more than a hundred Masters and Doctors since 1997. Its initial recognition by CAPES occurred with the founding of PPG in Aquatic Bioecology, which was expanded with the entry of numerous researchers working in the terrestrial environment, giving rise to its two main lines of research: (a) Aquatic Ecology and (b) Terrestrial Ecology.

PPGECO currently has 29 researchers (20 permanent and 8 associates) who have an extremely diverse background and have obtained doctoral degrees from a number of reputed higher education institutions including foreign universities (Oxford University, University of London , University of Texas, University of Oklahoma, University of Montpellier, University of Lund) and national (UNICAMP, UFRJ, UNESP, UEM, UFPR, UFRGS). In addition, many researchers have expanded their training by conducting postdoctoral or internships abroad. 

The recognition of the quality of PPGECO can be gauged by the large number of candidates who took our annual test in recent years, with around 90 - 120 candidates a year. In addition to UFRN students, PPGECO has received students from Argentina, Uruguay, Costa Rica and numerous Brazilian institutions of higher education, such as UFRJ, INPA, UFRGS, UFPA, UNISINOS, UFPE, UFRPE and UFCE. In addition, PPGECO has received numerous post-doctoral students, including some from Italy, Portugal, Turkey, Hungary, and Argentina.

PPGECO benefits from the existence of the undergraduate course in Ecology of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte. The Undergraduate Course in Ecology at UFRN, inaugurated in 2003, is the first federal ecology course in Brazil. The students' degree of contentment can be verified through the results of their institutional evaluations, which generally assign average grades higher than 9.0 to course teachers. 


In 2014, UFRN founded the Department of Ecology. The new Department is operating in a new physical space, built through resources from REUNI and UFRN. The Department occupies three floors of a building with a total area of over 1400 m2. On the first floor there is a four-room module for postgraduate students, a post-doctoral room, the post-graduate secretariat, as well as educational laboratories and a computer lab for 40 students. On the second floor, there are numerous research labs for shared use. On the third floor all the offices of the professors of the Department of Ecology are located. In addition, PPGECO students also use laboratories from several other Departments, including the Department of Limnology and Oceanography (DOL) and the Department of Botany and Zoology (DBEZ). 


Research activities at PPGECO include a large number of international collaborators including Alex Pyron (George Washington University, USA), Andrew Hector (University of Zurich, Switzerland), Catherine Graham (Stony Brook, USA), Egbert van Nes (Wageningen University, The Netherlands), Erik Jeppesen (Ahus University, Denmark), Frank Burbrink (University of New York, USA), Gabriel Costa (Auburn University, USA), Ingo Schlupp (University of Oklahoma, United States), Johannes Kollman (Technische Universität München, Germany , Julie Thayer Mascarenhas (Farallon Institute, USA), Julieta Benitez Malvido (Mexico Autonomous University, Mexico), Maria Miriti (Ohio State University, United States), Martin Scheffer (Wageningen University, Holland), Marcus R. Kronforsta Harvard University, United States), Michael Vanni (Miami University, USA), Milena Holmgren (Wageningen University, The Netherlands), Miquel Lurling (Wageningen University, The Netherlands), Nestor Mazzeo (UDELAR , Sérgio Martín Zalba (Universidad Nacional del Sur, Argentina), Thomas Brooks (NatureServe, USA) and Wolfgang W. Weisser (Technische Universität München, Germany).

Alternative Address

Program Coordination


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