"Between the forest and the ocean". This is a good description of the location of our lab. Although most of our studies are concentrated within forests and agroforests, the increasing number of studies and projects dealing with ocean habitats justifies the creation of the LEAC mar, or the "ocean team" of the lab. It comprises the following projects:
Ecology & Conservation of Endemic and Threatned Species
When we think about Brazilian birds, the first image that that comes to our minds is the one of colorful parrots and exquisite passerines from tropical forests. However, among our rich and diverse fauna are the seabirds, comprising odd species such as the magnificent albatrosses and petrels (Procellariiformes). In fact, these birds are amongst the most threatened species in the world, being particularly vulnerable to mortality caused by fishing. In this project we aimed to analyze the data available from a series of field inventories assessing the presence and abundance of Procellariiformes along the southern parts of Brazil to model species distribution, the probability spatiotemporal of incidental catches by fishing and the impact of fishing on these populations. The study is a collaborative effort including the university and some important conservation institutions such as the Albatroz Project [D1] , BirdLife International[D2] and the International Union for Conservation of Nature[D3] , and among the results we expect to 1. identify priority areas where monitoring efforts should be intensified, 2. Identify and implement better practices to reduce the incidental catch of seabirds. Giving the expected results and the enrolment of key conservation stakeholders, we hope that this research effectively contributes to support public policies designed for marine conservation and the development of responsible fishery practices in Brazil.
Caio A. Marques
Ecology of Humpback whales
Humpback whales feed in the waters of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean during the Southern Hemisphere summer, migrating north in the winter to reach warmer and protected waters to breed. The state of Bahia concentrates most of the population that uses the Brazilian coast. During the breeding season, males emit a set of sounds called songs. However whales also use other social sounds to communicate, such as vocalizations and the sounds produced at the surface of the water, result of surface behaviors. These sounds can be linked to specific social and behavioral functions concerning the composition of the groups and mediation of interactions between the different individuals presents in the groups.
Our team is studying the association between visual monitoring, from a land-based observation point, and passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) of humpback whales. The aim of the project is to describe surface and acoustic behavior from the groups sighted. We are also interested in assessing behavioral changes and whale acoustic emissions, related to the presence of background noise (wind or anthropogenic sources). From this database we intend to develop new protocols to monitoring of humpback whales that will help to mitigate the impact of anthropogenic activities.