Ayan is a hydrologist with particular interest in wetlands, mainly in South America (especially the Amazon region) and in Africa. He researches within the context of human impacts on water resources. Ayan holds a PhD degree from Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) in Water Resources Engineering, and is Lead of a research team on Geospatial Analysis of the Amazonian Environment and Territoryat at the Mamirauá Institute for Sustainable Development and at UFRGS. He also leads the conexoesamazonicas.org initiative for science communication about the Amazon River basin.
His research uses innovative technologies to merge new satellite data with hydrological modeling to understand how wetland hydrological processes and floods varying across multiple spatial and temporal scales. He also studies how floods respond to environmental changes such as climate change and dam building.
Being largely motivated by interdisciplinary approaches, the connection with researchers from other disciplines (sociologists, ecologists, meteorologists) largely helps Ayan promoting the sustainable development of wetlands. Examples of ongoing interdisciplinary projects he is part of focus on topics such as understanding how inundation dynamics in the Amazon affect methane emissions, or how future climate change and dams will impact inundation dynamics and thus, fisheries and riparian communities in the lower Amazon."