Meet Erick Santos, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science

From Brazil to Alberta, forage agronomist is embracing all four seasons

Donna McKinnon - 10 January 2024

Erick poses wearing a professional blazer in front of a branded U of A backdropSince beginning his new position as Assistant Professor in Forage Production and Management Science on September 1, 2023, Erick Santos — a native of Brazil who received his PhD from the University of Florida — is learning to adapt, slowly, to the decidedly colder climate of northern Alberta. On the plus side, he notes, gathering research samples in the summer may not be as prohibitively hot. Having spent the last two years in Edmonton as a postdoc, Erick is thrilled to be working and teaching at the University of Alberta, in a province that boasts a very strong beef and forage sector.

“[It’s] an opportunity to grow in my career and make significant contributions to the industry and the scientific community.”

For the winter term, Erick will be teaching AFNS 500 - Individual Study and PL SC 354 - Forage Crops.

Welcome Erick!

Where were you born and raised, and where did you receive your education?

I was born in the State of Pernambuco, Brazil. I have a BSc in Animal Science, Federal Rural University of Pernambuco, and an MSc and PhD in Agronomy, University of Florida.

What is your current research?

Some of my current research projects include:

  • Evaluating the benefits of adding perennial forages to cropping systems, especially on soil C sequestration.
  • Quantification of soil carbon and greenhouse gas emission changes after implementation of either rotational stocking or inclusion of new legume species.
  • Other projects that will be starting next summer include: 1) evaluation of species richness and harvest frequency of forage and soil responses, and 2) utilisation of warm-season grass-legume mixtures as an alternative for Alberta’s forage production systems.

What's the most important thing you would like your students to know?

I appreciate their feedback, and I look forward to improving based on their valuable input.

Why did you choose to come to the U of A?

Alberta is a very strong province in the beef and forage sector. Here I found an opportunity to grow in my career and make significant contributions to the industry and the scientific community.

How do you like Edmonton/Canada so far?

The climate is very different from Pernambuco and Florida, for sure. However, I enjoy the long days during the summer and the possibility of enjoying the four seasons (although winter could be shorter). As a big part of my research takes place outdoors, it feels good not having extenuating warm days during sampling events.

What do you do outside of academics for fun?

I enjoy biking and running outside on the numerous trails that Edmonton offers. Additionally, I practice Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which is much less dependent on good weather.