Former students

Alesandro Souza

During my Master in Ecology I studied the effects of landscape-scale forest loss on the functional connectivity (gene flow), genetic diversity and spatial genetic structure of Euterpe edulis (Arecaceae), an endangered tree species from extinction. Now, as a Ph.D. candidate, I am interested to discover how environmental variables with ecological relevance influence the adaptive genetic variation in the gradient of environmental conditions in nature. The main object of my research will be to associate loci transcribed in the genome of E. edulis, with environmental variables and phenotypic and compare how different historical anthropogenic disturbances impact on genetic variability under directional selection.


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Cinthya Santos, MS.C.

Since I was a graduate student, I have studied different living organisms, but I decided to focus my dissertation on the ecology of sloths, a peculiar vertebrate that inhabits some forests in Brazil. I studied the relationship between thermoregulatory behavior and the activity patterns of two sloths (Bradypus torquatus and Bradypus variegatus), seeking to understand the differences between these two species. I currently live in Ecuador and am participating in a biodiversity monitoring project in this country. Among the main activities are the capture and monitoring of large mammals in the Amazon: the jaguar (Panthera onca) and the tapir (Tapirus terrestris).  


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Jean Henrique Souza, MS.C.

My master dissertation addresses the ecology of the thin-spined porcupine (Chaetomys subspinosus), an endemic and secretive species of rodent inhabiting the Northeastern Atlantic Forest of southern Bahia, Brazil. The species is currently red-listed and we dire need to better understand some ecological and behavioral aspects in order to adequately support specific conservation actions designed to increase the likelihood of this species survival, including guidelines for translocation.


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Milena Gomes, MS.C.

My research is focused on understanding the action of exotic species of Artocarpus integrifolia, the jackfruit, the natural regeneration of the Atlantic Forest biome. This species is quite common in several areas within the native Atlantic Forest, and its fruits comprise important food resources for many primates in the region of southern Bahia. My study intends to assess how the presence of jackfruits in native fragments of southern Bahia affects the establishment of native seedlings dispersed by a variety of foraging frugivorous perching on this exotic species. More specifically, I will investigate whether the seed rain bellow individuals of jackfruits is successfully recruiting or whether such a process has been rather prevented by the recruitment of jackfruit seedlings. Understanding such dynamics is key to a better understanding of the potential for natural regeneration.


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Edyla Ribiro de Andrade, PhD.

I´ve been assessing the effects of habitat loss on the taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity of understory Rubiaceae in Atlantic forest of southern Bahia, as part of the team of SISBIOTA research network. Currently, as a Ph.D. candidate I expanded my research to understand how forest loss influences the diversity and phylogenetic structure of woody plants and its variation over the ontogenetic stages.


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Adrielle Leal, MS.C.

I joined the lab as a master student in Ecology, with a main interest to investigate how the carbon stocks and density of trees present in the cabrucas agroforestry in the South of Bahia affect the ecosystem services such as dispersal and seed predation.


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Larisa Rocha Santos, PhD.

The anthropic pressures effects, especially deforestation and fragmentation, have a great impact on biodiversity, especially when they occur in biomes with high endemism and diversity such as the Atlantic Forest. In this context, my research is aimed at understanding the effects of forest cover loss, fragmentation and land-use at plant community, in a megadiversity region such as southern Bahia. My studies focus mainly on forest structure, floristic composition, diversity and abundance of ecological groups, functional diversity, and phenology of the tree-shrub community. I have also studied areas of agroforestry system for cocoa cultivation, locally known as cabruca, in order to understand the trade-off biodiversity and productivity. In addition, I am interested in the occurrence areas of forest restoration in the southern Bahia.

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Jamile Bonfim, PhD.

My research focuses on the consequences of anthropogenic changes in forests, such as habitat loss and fragmentation, on frugivory and seed dispersal. In order to carry out this research, I use the Complex Networks Theory, which allows the evaluation of the community ecological interactions as an interconnected network, in which each interaction can influence the other. This approach allows the evaluation of the interactions structure, in order to better understand the influence of anthropogenic disturbances on the mutualistic relationships. My most recent results show that the patch size reduction and the forest amount in the landscape have deleterious effects on species richness and morphological traits of plants and birds, with serious consequences to the structure of seed dispersal networks. As a next step, I intend to evaluate if the changes observed in the network structure as a consequence of the habitat loss are reflected in the seedlings recruitment in the Atlantic Forest landscapes in the south of Bahia.

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Ramiris Moraes, PhD.

My research addresses the dynamics of Nitrogen and Carbon within forests immersed in anthropogenic landscapes, assessing the ‘Nutrient dynamics in disturbed forests in southern Bahia. I am interested in understanding how landscape scale forest amount affects nitrogen cycle and carbon storage in local forests. My research is part of an ecological functioning research network (SISBIOTA network) that comprises other studies into the same forest landscapes.


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Juliana Monteiro, PhD.

Since my master's degree in Ecology, I have been studying populations of a primate species which is endemic to the Atlantic Forest: the golden-headed lion tamarin, Leontopithecuschrysomelas. This species is endangered mainly due to habitat loss and much of its geographical distribution is now represented by shaded cocoa plantations, locally known as cabrucas. The main goal of my PhD research is to investigate determinant factors for the lion tamarin occupancy in cabrucas, focusing on the role of predators and vegetation structure. I hope to identify a cabruca profile more favorable to the species occurrence and provide my results to encourage a cabruca management more friendly to the biodiversity conservation.


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Kena Ferrari, Ph.D.

My current research focuses on the study of a folivore arboreal mammal and endemic to the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, the thin-spined porcupine (Chaetomys subspinosus). I attempt to study the movement and feeding behavior of individuals and its relationship with 1. edge effect, 2. the abundance and spatial distribution of food resources, and 3. the local features of forest structure. I will specifically evaluate the influence of edge effect in the nutritional (besides accessing secondary compounds) characteristics of the leaves of species more consumed by the target species.


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José Carlos Morante-Filho, Ph.D.

The general aim of my thesis was to evaluate the effects of environmental changes on a local and landscape scale on the bird community structure, as well as understand how ecosystem processes performed by the birds can be altered by these changes. The study was conducted in 40 human-altered landscapes with different forest cover amount, located in the Atlantic Forest of southern Bahia, Brazil. The results show that: (i) a decrease in the forest cover amount negatively affects the diversity of different ecological groups of birds, with extinction threshold when 50% of the forest cover is lost in the landscape; (ii) the forest loss acts as an environmental filter, altering the composition of bird species in human-altered landscapes; (iii) the gamma diversity of birds of the landscapes can be maintained by species turnover (beta diversity) between sites, although it depends on the ecological group, spatial scale and landscape heterogeneity; (iv) changes in forest structure and landscape composition are major drivers of the bird assemblages structure in fragmented landscapes; (v) decrease of the forest cover amount besides negatively affect the species diversity can also exert severe effects on ecological processes. Specifically, forest loss increases the herbivory levels in plants in the understory of forest patches. In summary, the results presented here show the negative effects of land cover changes on the bird diversity, and emphasize that many species require extensive forest cover to persist in human-altered landscapes. Future conservation strategies should take measures to avoid deforestation of remnants of forest parches, with concomitant management and restoration of severely fragmented landscapes, in order to maintain the bird diversity and consequently their ecological functions.

Felipe Velez Garcia, Ph.D.

I am a Biologist with an emphasis in the ecology of neotropical mammals and actually a Ph.D. candidate in conservation ecology. My research assessed the distributional patterns of mammalian species and its interactions in natural and disturbed ecosystems. My doctoral research attempted to describe the effect of the habitat loss on the functional diversity of small mammals from the Atlantic rainforest, a biodiversity hotspot for conservation. Future research will be aimed to understand the effect of human disruption of the environmental function and identify the ecosystem services provided by neotropical mammals.

Igor Inforzato, MS.C.

In my research, I focused on understanding how the costs associated with reproduction of primates can determine its quality food. Currently, I use as a model the northern muriqui, a critically endangered primate. Also, I'm interested in population ecology, behavioral ecology, natural history and species interactions directed to biodiversity conservation. I have experience in feeding ecology of bats, monitoring of primates in the wild, as well as monitoring and management of terrestrial mammals in different biomes (Savana, Pantanal, Caatinga, Amazon and Atlantic Forest).


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Michaele Pessoa, PhD.

My research addresses fruit biomass availability and functional diversity of fleshy fruits within forests in anthropogenic landscapes, assessing the quality of the fleshy fruits resources to frugivores in deforested forests in southern Bahia. I am interested in understanding how landscape-scale forest loss influences the richness, abundance and composition of zoochoric tree species, fruit biomass availability and the functional diversity of traits related to frugivore attraction. My research is part of an ecological functioning research network (SISBIOTA).


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