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When I first came to the Amazon from central Brazil in 1978, I was planning to stay just a year, but I was mesmerized by the size of the rainforest’s rivers and its biodiversity. I ended up staying longer and earned my master’s degree in aquatic biology in 1984 from the National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA), in Manaus, Brazil. I then went to get my PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and returned to Manaus in 1998 to work as an ichthyologist at INPA.