My name is Luis Carrasco. I am an enthusiastic ecology researcher, and a passionate about wildlife conservation. I am currently working at National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, located at Knoxville, USA, at the foot of the Smoky Mountains. I use remote sensing and spatial data for ecological and conservation research.
I studied Physics at the University of Valencia during my undergraduate years. I specialized in environmental physics, studying subjects such as atmosphere and hydrosphere physics, meteorology, pollution or remote sensing. In 2006 I received a scholarship to study one year at Waseda University, in Japan. That experience, studying topics related to environmental and biodiversity conservation, and having contact with the beauty of Japanese nature, would be a turning point in my career. After finishing my degree, I completed a master's degree in biodiversity conservation. During that time, I also completed some courses on GIS and ecosystem managing. For my master thesis, I studied the habitat of an endangered passerine at a Mediterranean wetland, using remote sensing and GIS techniques. I also collaborated with the Department of Ecology of the University of Valencia for the census and monitoring of several bird species at different Spanish coastal wetlands.
In 2009, I volunteered in coastal Oaxaca in Mexico, working with the monitoring and protection of sea turtles and crocodiles. I lived for several weeks with indigenous communities and participated in many different ways with wildlife conservation projects. That experience made me decide to dedicate my future career to animal ecology and to try to link scientific research with wildlife management. After this, I have remained linked to the non-profit world by helping with local bird monitoring stations in Valencia.
In April 2011, I was awarded a Japanese Government Scholarship for Graduate Studies, which enabled me to complete my Ph.D. and to continue my research on animal ecology for the last years. During my doctoral years I studied habitat selection of herons and egrets in Ibaraki, Japan. I used advanced classificatory algorithms to analyze habitat preferences and create predictive distribution models and to research how changes in landscapes can affect the distribution of species that live in human-influenced regions. In March 2015 I received the Biological Sciences’ Chair Award of the University of Tsukuba for my doctoral thesis.
During my stay in Japan I traveled around Asia, visiting many countries and wonderful natural regions such as Borneo Island, the Mekong delta, Cambodia's rainforest, Okinawa Islands and the beautiful Hokkaido's wilderness, in north Japan. All these trips and the spotted wildlife have reinforced even more my passion for nature conservation. After that I moved to Lancaster, in the UK, to work as a research associate in the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. There, I collaborated in the creation of the UK Land Cover Map 2015, and participated in several projects linking remote sensing techniques with ecological research.
I spend my free time bird watching, hiking, taking pictures or reading. I also practise sports regularly and I love martial arts, which drove me to get my black belt in kyokushin karate in Japan.