Anthropogenic disturbances, like fragmentation and habitat loss, especially in the Atlantic Forest, are the major problems for the biodiversity conservation, making changes in laMy research attempts to understand how the vegetation loss in shade cacao plantations - known as cabrucas - affects (i) the taxonomic diversity of non-flying small mammals; (ii) the pattern of movement and space using by two species of small mammals that interact strongly with cacao and forest (Marmosa murina and Rhipdomys mastacalis); and (iii) the genetic diversity of the cocoa predator rodent (Rhipdomys mastacalis).
Elaine Rios da Silva
Defaunation drives a series of environmental alterations, including changes in species composition and ecological and evolutionary processes. In my PhD, I am interested in evaluating the effects of forest cover reduction at the landscape scale on richness and abundance patterns of medium and large-sized mammals of southern Bahia. I also seek to understand how the reduction or loss of certain species affects key ecological processes, including seed dispersal and predation.
Sueli Souza Damasceno
Herein I seek to understand if generalists frugivorous birds that thrive in disturbed areas can maintain the functionality of the ecosystem after the decay of specialists.C urrently, the conversion of forest into anthropic landscapes dominated by monocultures is the main responsible for the reduction of biodiversity, especially in the tropical regions. An example of this fact is the Atlantic Forest of the south of Bahia, with high endemism and species richness and that every year loses large portions of area. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the effects of changes in land use from fragmentation and loss of forest on local fauna. My research project “Influence of local characteristics and landscape on different components of bird diversity" aims to evaluate how the structure of the landscape and the local characteristics of different habitats (forest fragments and agroforestry of cacao -Theobroma cacao) in 36 fragments in southern Bahia affect the taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversity of the bird community. It is expected to understand how the structure of the landscape affects the diversity and organization of the bird community in environments with different disturbance intensities.
The extensive deforestation and changes on land management threatens the remaining fragments in the Atlantic Forest, impacting on species diversity and provision of ecosystem services, like pollination. Some agroforest systems are prone to retain several of insect pollinator species, but studies regarding the real potential of conservation by these crops are still scarce. My project aims to understand the role of cocoa agroforest systems in maintaining diversity patterns of orchid bee communities, and consequently, in the provision of pollination to the ecosystems in the Atlantic Forest.
Soraya H. Carvalhedo
I study the rubber tree plantation system and its associated though unacounted environmental services. I propose to investigate: (i) whether aerial insectivorous vertebrates are able to control the abundance of arthropods in the rubber tree; (ii) whether this control can influence herbivory rates and productivity in rubber plantations in southern Bahia; (iii) whether the proximity of forest would influence the observed patterns; and (iv) whether the types of habitats bordering the rubber tree plantation influence the pattern of predation of the rubber tree.
My project attempts to unveil whether litter decomposition can influence nutrient cycling and howwe can reduce the effects of fragmentation by using it as a tool to measure anthropogenic disturbances in Atlantic forest forests in southern Bahia.
Caio de Azevedo Marques
Thousands of albatrosses and petrels die needlessly every year as victims of longline fishing. In a cruel manner, they are attracted to the baited hooks, get caught and dragged under the water and drown. They are the world´s most threatened seabirds group. My research is focused on identifying the spatial probability of incidental capture of albatrosses and petrels by national longline fisheries and evaluate priorities areas to the conservation of these species. In a systematic conservation planning exercise, we intend to identify and discuss different scenarios of goals of conservation and the required strategies for an adequate management of the areas allocated to both fishery production and seabirds protection. Our results are expected to be applicable, contributing in a practice and a directly way for the national marine conservation government policy. The NGO's Projeto Albatroz and BirdLife International are our main partners.
Leticia Braga da Silva
Despite being one of the main biodiversity hotspots, the Atlantic Forest is affected by an old and continuous process of deforestation and has a way of maintaining local biodiversity in agroforestry. My research project seeks to understand which environmental characteristics affect the use and occurrence of primates in cocoa agroforestry in southern Bahia. In addition, I also try to find out whether the forest cover and the matrix of this agroforestry influence the consumption of cocoa by the remaining local fauna.
Fernando C. G. Bonfim
My project aims to understand the effects of landscape-scale forest loss in frugivore and seed dispersal of a key palm species (Euterpe edulis). I also want to evaluate the consequences of forest loss to the structure of ecological networks as well as, understand the consequences for seed germination and recruitment.
My research project aims to study the spatial dynamics and habitat requirements of large herds of white-lipped peccaries and as their population status within and outside Amazonian Extractive Reserves to develop a community-based model of landscape-scale sustainable hunting practices to reduce the impacts of overhunting on ecosystems services provided by large mammals, thereby increasing the conservation performance of Amazonian sustainable-use reserves.
In my doctoral project, we intend to identify the relationship between biodiversity, environmental services, management and productivity of cocoa in the cabrucas of southern Bahia. More specifically, we will investigate how local intensification - through the removal of shade trees - affects the diversity of shade trees, the carbon stock and soil moisture in cocoa farms under different management intensities. In addition, based on a socioeconomic database obtained for the region, we intend to analyze the relationship between these aspects mentioned with local productivity.