PhD & MsC students
Rebeca F. Sampaio
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 Atlantic Forest is considered among the Brazilian biomes the most important and threatened in the world, due to the growing agricultural activity. Bats are known as bioindicators of pollution, as they provide a warning of adverse effects on ecosystems. We aim to evaluate whether there is bioaccumulation of heavy metals in Bats species in three different types of habitat (traditional cacao agroforests, intensified cacao agroforests and forest remnants) in the southern region of the State of Bahia, Brazil and determine the factors that influenced this bioaccumulation.
Paloma Silva Resende
To combine agricultural production and environmental protection is one of the main difficulties faced today. In southern Bahia, cocoa agroforests in the cabruca system form a mosaic that provides an ideal model for understanding how medium and large mammals respond to different vegetation management techniques. The aim of this project is to evaluate how the functional diversity of the medium and large mammal community responds to different levels of shading (management intensity) and percentage of native forest cover in areas of cabrucas in southern Bahia and to compare them.
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.
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.
Ana Rúbia Schmitt Rossi
The south of Bahia has the largest remnants of Atlantic Forest in the state and has the important presence of Cabrucas to connect and enable the displacement of fauna between natural fragments, helping to maintain the local biodiversity. However, such a landscape mosaic is impacted by the presence of roads, which affect biodiversity in different ways, acting as a filter. This study aims to analyze the composition of mammals in the gradient of distance from the edge of the road and the richness and abundance of roadkill, seeking to relate it to traffic and landscape characteristics in an agroforestry matrix.
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.
Letícia Soto da Costa
The Atlantic Forest is considered among the Brazilian biomes the most important and threatened in the world, due to the growing agricultural activity. Small mammals are known as bioindicators of pollution, as they provide a warning of adverse effects on ecosystems. We aim to evaluate whether there is bioaccumulation of heavy metals in small mammals (rodents and marsupials) in three different types of habitat (traditional cacao agroforests, intensified cacao agroforests and forest remnants) in the southern region of the State of Bahia, Brazil and determine the factors that influenced this bioaccumulation.
Many species, including bats, have been under great threat due to changes in land use. In this context, agroforestry systems are identified as a friendly habitat for biodiversity. In my research, I sought to answer how the management of cocoa agroforests - selection and removal of trees that shade the cocoa tree -and the landscape in which they are inserted, affect the taxonomic and functional diversity of bats within agroforestry systems. I also sought to understand how this relationship between landscape and local management on bats can affect one of the ecosystem services promoted by bats, which is the consumption of potentially pest arthropods within cocoa agroforests.