On February 21st Guillermo Bañares-de-Dios defended his PhD thesis at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos` Experimental Sciences and Technology School. Before starting his thesis, Guillermo was employed as a lab technician at Umeå University (Sweden), from where he applied for an internship for University Teachers Education program to the Ministry of Education to develop a PhD thesis under the supervision of Luis Cayuela and Manuel Macía. A total of 93 candidates qualified for 31 internships in the Ecology area and, after evaluating their merits, Guillermo was one of the selected, finishing at 10th position. In October 2015 he returned to Spain and set sail on his PhD journey.
Within this time, Guillermo has alternated expeditions and fieldwork campaigns in the rainforest in Ecuador and Peru and lab work at the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja (Ecuador) and the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú with data analysis, advanced statistic courses and teaching. Besides, he has presented his work on international meetings, assisted to workshops, performed divulgation activities, won academic awards and even raised funding for a project.
However, the defence is probably the most symbolic event of this period. Guillermo defended his thesis in English against a tribunal made up of the prestigious teachers Yadvinder Malhi (Oxford University), Adrián Escudero (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos) and Isabel Sanmartín (Madrid Royal Botanical Garden). During the defence, Guillermo went through a general review of community assembly current state of knowledge and afterwards he explained how the investigations within his thesis contribute to a better understanding of this topic in Andean tropical montane forests. Finally, Guillermo replied to the questions of the tribunal, which awarded him with the highest qualification (whether he obtained or not the cum laude its yet unknown, since the decision is secret and given the actual situation with the covid-19 the envelopes keep closed at the URCJ Doctorate International School). In addition, Guillermo got the International PhD accreditation. Currently, very happy for what he has achieved, Guillermo will soon start as a post-doc within our group to continue with previous works and to start new ones.