I believe that scientific information ought to be used to solve societal problems related to the environment. That is what I have been doing as a researcher for the last eight years in the Amazon, and that is why I am thrilled to be a part of the Applied Biodiversity Science (ABS) program at Texas A&M University.
My interest and experience in biodiversity conservation comes from my first research experiences. At the ‘Mangrove Centre’, State University of Rio de Janeiro, I developed field research in mangrove ecosystems, but I felt that my efforts were disconnected from the “real” problems. This led me to work on fisheries research and policy issues in which I could combine ecological and human dimensions, providing solutions to fish and human problems.
For eight years now, I have been simultaneously involved in research, extension, and policy activities in the Amazon. I worked as a researcher directly with fisher communities at Mamirauá Reserve, in the Brazilian Amazon, generating information and applying it directly to the management and conservation of fishery resources. We worked jointly with the fishers, seeking ways to allow fishery resources to recover from overexploitation while addressing fishers’ needs to provide fish for their families. More recently, I have been working in the implementation of arapaima management in communities in the Lower Amazon (enjoy the video!). This has required extensive field efforts, and an expansion of a state-wide policy for arapaima management.
Now, as part of my PhD in the Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, I am developing a study evaluating the impacts of the deforestation of Amazon River floodplains on fish communities and fisheries productivity. In the Amazon, fishes migrate into floodplain forests during the annual flood pulse where food and nursery resources are abundant and accessible. However, Amazon floodplain forests are being rapidly deforested, producing potentially negative impacts on fish communities and fisheries. Because Amazon floodplains are highly diverse, and floodplain fisheries are the main source of income and animal protein for riverine populations, floodplain deforestation may threaten regional biodiversity and food security. The ABS program is greatly broadening my current understanding of interdisciplinary conservation and is allowing me to complement and enhance my expertise in the aquatic ecology of the Amazon, forming an integrated view of this forested river basin that is increasingly impacted by society’s needs.
|Sampling fish populations to study the effects of floodplain deforestation on fish populations and fisheries productivity|