Sergio Henriques

Sergio Henriques

Profile Display Name:

Sergio Henriques

E-mail Address:

Start Year

2015 (Cohort 2)

Research interests:

My current research interests focus on overcoming biases in conservation biology, to establish global trends in extinction risk. I investigate a number of approaches but have focused mostly in aggregate statistics and reassessing taxonomy to inform conservation.

I am a spider taxonomist and a scorpion expert, with an interested in human-wildlife interactions, particularly illegal wildlife trade and their impacts on conservation.

Hobbies and interests:

I have an interest in nature photography and video documentaries. Also have experience in scientific illustration.

Reassessing taxonomy to inform conservation, mainly on species threaten with extinction by man made structures and activities (such as hydroelectric damns, stone quarries and golf courses) in isolated ecosystems, such as caves, oceanic islands, mediterranean climate valleys in Atlantic regions and semi-arid/arid habitats (mostly in the western mediterranean regions of the Iberian Peninsula and the Maghreb).

E-taxonomy tools to prioritise scientific issues, such as the most resource efficient sources for new taxa, and achieving the full potential of existing data from bibliographical and museological material.

Photography, illustration, citizen science and social media, as sources of biodiversity bigdata, while increasing research outreach.

PhD Project
PhD Title

Protecting the unknown: Streamlining the Sampled Red List Index approach to assess trends of extinction risk in megadiverse groups

Research Theme

Biodiversity and Ecology

Primary Supervisor
Primary Institution


Secondary Supervisor
Secondary Institution


Additional supervisor(s)

Pedro Miguel Cardoso (University of Helsinki),
Monika Böhm (IOZ),


The IUCN Red List is the most comprehensive evaluation of extinction risks of the world’s biodiversity. However, Red List assessments are costly, time consuming and logistically complex. With current extinction rates, many species may even become extinct before we are able to assess them. Time is therefore of the essence and a pragmatic approach that speeds up the assessment process and provides general trends of extinction across a wider range of taxonomic groups is an urgent endeavour. The Sampled Red List Index (SLRI) has been proposed as a solution to many of these issues. However despite being a sampled approach our knowledge is still skewed towards better-known groups, often with reduced species diversity. My project will overcome these biases by empirically investigating how to derive the best possible sampling regime to allow Red List assessments to reflect patterns across a number of megadiverse taxa, and establish general trends in the extinction risk over time. I will assess the applicability of the current sampling regime of the SRLI using data from a number of completely assessed species groups and use predictive modelling to assess the feasibility of applying this process to megadiverse taxa with limited data availability, such as arachnids.

Policy Impact

Scientific contributor and supporter of the inclusion of all species of arboreal and ornamental tarantula in the genus Poecilotheria in CITES Appendix II in 2019. The previous, and sole successful listing of spiders under CITES to this day was in 1995.

Background Reading
News & Blogs

Psssst…Want To Buy A Tarantula?, National Public radio, The indicator from planet money
Una nueva especie de araña amenazada por los invernaderos de Almería, National Geographic España
Bug smuggling is big business, National Geographic
The illegal market for tarantulas is hairy business, National Geographic
Spiders are threatened by climate change – and even the biggest arachnophobes should be worried, The Conversation (also in Metro, Phys, Climate Impact News, etc..)
New tarantula highlights illegal trade in spiders, Science

Conferences and Workshops
  • Environmental Biosciences & Conservation Careers Conference. Talk: “Choosing the unknown path”.

The Royal Society 01/01/2019 – 01/04/2019.

  • IUCN Spider & Scorpion Specialist Group (SSSG)

Social Links
University Departmental Website:

Personal Website:



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