Conservation International Brazil


Conservation International Brazil

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Francini-Filho R.,State University of Paraíba | Francini-Filho R.,Federal University of Bahia | Reis R.,Federal University of Bahia | Meirelles P.,Federal University of Bahia | And 6 more authors.
Latin American Journal of Aquatic Research | Year: 2010

The reef coral Mussismilia braziliensis Verril, 1968 is endemic to the eastern Brazilian coast, representing a major reef-building species in the region. This coral is threatened by extinction due to the recent proliferation of a white-plague like (WPL) disease. Despite its severe impacts, the environmental factors leading to outbreaks of WPL disease are still poorly understood. This study describes the seasonal prevalence of WPL disease on M. braziliensis in the Abrolhos Bank, on the southern coast of Bahia Brazil. In situ estimates showed that WPL disease was about 4.5 times more prevalent in summer (January 2007, mean sea surface temperature 27.4°C) than in winter (July 2007, 25.0°C). This result suggests that the prevalence of WPL disease in M. braziliensis is temperature-dependent, supporting the hypothesis that warmer oceans are facilitating the proliferation of coral diseases worldwide.

Alves Jr. N.,Federal University of Rio de Janeiro | Maia Neto O.S.,Federal University of Rio de Janeiro | Silva B.S.O.,Federal University of Rio de Janeiro | de Moura R.L.,Conservation International Brazil | And 9 more authors.
Environmental Microbiology Reports | Year: 2010

We performed the first taxonomic characterization of vibrios and other culturable microbiota from apparently healthy and diseased Brazilian-endemic corals at the Abrolhos reef bank. The diseases affecting corals were tissue necrosis in Phyllogorgia dillatata, white plague and bleaching in Mussismilia braziliensis and bleaching in Mussismilia hispida. Bacterial isolates were obtained from mucus of 22 coral specimens originated from the Abrolhos Bank (i.e. Itacolomis reef, Recife de Fora reef and Santa Barbara Island) in 2007. Vibrios counts in the water and coral mucus were approximately 104 cfu ml-1 and 106 cfu ml-1 respectively. One hundred and thirty-one representative vibrio isolates were identified. Most vibrio isolates (n = 79) fell into the core group using the pyrH identification marker. According to our analysis, diseased corals did not possess a unique vibrio microbiota. Vibrio species encompassed strains originated from both apparently healthy and diseased corals. The pathogenic potential of representative vibrio isolates (V. alginolyticus 40B, V. harveyi-like 1DA3 and V. coralliilyticus 2DA3) were evaluated in a standardized bioassay using the animal model Drosophila melanogaster and caused 25-88% mortality. This is the first taxonomic characterization of the culturable microbiota from the Brazilian-endemic corals. Endemic Brazilian corals are a reservoir of the vibrio core group. Vibrio alginolyticus, V. harveyi and V. coralliilyticus are dominant in the mucus of these corals and may be a normal component of the holobiont. © 2009 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Freitas M.O.,Laboratorio Of Ictiologia | de Moura R.L.,Conservation International Brazil | Francini-Filho R.B.,Federal University of Paraiba | Minte-Vera C.V.,State University of Maringá
Scientia Marina | Year: 2011

Although information on the spawning seasons of commercially important snappers (Lutjanidae) and groupers (Serranidae, subfamily Epinephelinae) is available for the north and central west Atlantic, there is little information for the tropical western South Atlantic (Brazil). As a consequence, there are few fishery regulations in this entire region that take into consideration such information. In this study, we characterized the reproductive cycles of three Epinephelinae serranids (Epinephelus morio, Mycteroperca bonaci and Cephalopholis fulva) and five lutjanids (Lutjanus synagris, L. jocu, L. analis, Ocyurus chrysurus and Rhomboplites aurorubens) that occur in the Abrolhos Bank, Brazil, the largest reef complex in the tropical western South Atlantic. A total of 3528 gonads were collected from May 2005 to October 2007. Temporal variability in spawning patterns was evaluated using the Gonadosomatic Index (GSI) and macroscopic analyses. The peak of reproductive activity for the three grouper species occurred between July and August. Snappers exhibited two peaks of reproductive activity, the more intense of which occurred between September and October. The other peak occurred between February and March, with the exception of the deep-dwelling species R. aurorubens, which only reproduced between February and March. Seasonal patterns were consistent over the two consecutive years that we studied, and these patterns are equivalent to those observed for the Northern Hemisphere, as are the sizes at maturity and at the time of sexual change (for the three protogynous hermaphrodite groupers). Fisheries management in this region could be significantly improved by a combination of catch and effort limitations being imposed during spawning seasons and by overall size limitations, particularly considering that most of the fish caught are generally below size at maturity. The proposed buffer zones for the marine areas that are presently protected in Abrolhos represent an opportunity for implementing both spatial (e.g. setting no-take zones that cover spawning sites) and temporal (e.g. seasonal closures during spawning peaks) management tools, using a participatory approach at the regional scale.

Francini-Filho R.B.,University Estadual da Paraba | De Moura R.L.,Conservation International Brazil | Kaufman L.,Boston University
Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom | Year: 2010

Foraging activity of roving herbivorous reef fish (RHs) from families Acanthuridae (surgeonfish; three species) and Scaridae (parrotfish; five species), and its relationship to resource availability and interference competition, was studied in the largest South Atlantic Reef complex (Abrolhos Bank, eastern Brazil). Observations were undertaken at four sites differing in resource availability and competitors' abundance (i.e. RHs and territorial herbivores from genus Stegastes). Turf algae (TA) were selected by most species in most sites, while other food items were generally avoided. Surgeonfish had higher feeding rates than parrotfish, the former grazing more frequently on fleshy algae (FA) and the latter on crustose calcareous algae (CCA). Both surgeonfish and parrotfish interacted agonistically most frequently with damselfish, followed by confamilial interactions. Despite these consistent patterns, feeding rates, food selection and frequency of agonistic interactions differed significantly between sites for most species. Bite rates on CCA and FA were disproportionally higher in sites where such items were more available, leading to significant spatial variation in grazing selectivity (i.e. positive rather than negative selection of CCA and lower avoidance of FA). Although agonistic interactions were more frequent at sites where herbivorous fish (both roving and territorial) were most abundant, there was no clear relationship between interference competition and foraging patterns. These results indicate that the scarcity of other food may induce RHs to consume the dominant resources. They also support the hypotheses that RHs are unable to clear large tracts of reef surface of FA once these have proliferated, and that territorial herbivores do not limit the access of RHs to particular resources. Copyright © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 2009.

de Castro A.P.,University of Brasilia | Araujo Jr. S.D.,Catholic University of Brasília | Reis A.M.M.,Catholic University of Brasília | Moura R.L.,Conservation International Brazil | And 6 more authors.
Microbial Ecology | Year: 2010

In order to characterize the bacterial community diversity associated to mucus of the coral Mussismilia hispida, four 16S rDNA libraries were constructed and 400 clones from each library were analyzed from two healthy colonies, one diseased colony and the surrounding water. Nine bacterial phyla were identified in healthy M. hispida, with a dominance of Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Acidobacteria, Lentisphaerae, and Nitrospira. The most commonly found species were related to the genera Azospirillum, Hirschia, Fabibacter, Blastochloris, Stella, Vibrio, Flavobacterium, Ochrobactrum, Terasakiella, Alkalibacter, Staphylococcus, Azospirillum, Propionibacterium, Arcobacter, and Paenibacillus. In contrast, diseased M. hispida had a predominance of one single species of Bacteroidetes, corresponding to more than 70% of the sequences. Rarefaction curves using evolutionary distance of 1% showed a greater decrease in bacterial diversity in the diseased M. hispida, with a reduction of almost 85% in OTUs in comparison to healthy colonies. ∫-Libshuff analyses show that significant p values obtained were <0.0001, demonstrating that the four libraries are significantly different. Furthermore, the sympatric corals M. hispida and Mussismilia braziliensis appear to have different bacterial community compositions according to Principal Component Analysis and Lineage-specific Analysis. Moreover, lineages that contribute to those differences were identified as α-Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Firmicutes. The results obtained in this study suggest host-microbe co-evolution in Mussismilia, and it was the first study on the diversity of the microbiota of the endemic and endangered of extinction Brazilian coral M. hispida from Abrolhos bank. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Harvey C.A.,The Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science and Oceans | Chacon M.,The Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science and Oceans | Donatti C.I.,The Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science and Oceans | Garen E.,The Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science and Oceans | And 22 more authors.
Conservation Letters | Year: 2014

Addressing the global challenges of climate change, food security, and poverty alleviation requires enhancing the adaptive capacity and mitigation potential of agricultural landscapes across the tropics. However, adaptation and mitigation activities tend to be approached separately due to a variety of technical, political, financial, and socioeconomic constraints. Here, we demonstrate that many tropical agricultural systems can provide both mitigation and adaptation benefits if they are designed and managed appropriately and if the larger landscape context is considered. Many of the activities needed for adaptation and mitigation in tropical agricultural landscapes are the same needed for sustainable agriculture more generally, but thinking at the landscape scale opens a new dimension for achieving synergies. Intentional integration of adaptation and mitigation activities in agricultural landscapes offers significant benefits that go beyond the scope of climate change to food security, biodiversity conservation, and poverty alleviation. However, achieving these objectives will require transformative changes in current policies, institutional arrangements, and funding mechanisms to foster broad-scale adoption of climate-smart approaches in agricultural landscapes. ©2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Vynne C.,University of Washington | Vynne C.,World Wildlife Fund | Skalski J.R.,University of Washington | Machado R.B.,Conservation International Brazil | And 8 more authors.
Conservation Biology | Year: 2011

Most protected areas are too small to sustain populations of wide-ranging mammals; thus, identification and conservation of high-quality habitat for those animals outside parks is often a high priority, particularly for regions where extensive land conversion is occurring. This is the case in the vicinity of Emas National Park, a small protected area in the Brazilian Cerrado. Over the last 40 years the native vegetation surrounding the park has been converted to agriculture, but the region still supports virtually all of the animals native to the area. We determined the effectiveness of scat-detection dogs in detecting presence of five species of mammals threatened with extinction by habitat loss: maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), puma (Puma concolor), jaguar (Panthera onca), giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), and giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus). The probability of scat detection varied among the five species and among survey quadrats of different size, but was consistent across team, season, and year. The probability of occurrence, determined from the presence of scat, in a randomly selected site within the study area ranged from 0.14 for jaguars, which occur primarily in the forested areas of the park, to 0.91 for maned wolves, the most widely distributed species in our study area. Most occurrences of giant armadillos in the park were in open grasslands, but in the agricultural matrix they tended to occur in riparian woodlands. At least one target species occurred in every survey quadrat, and giant armadillos, jaguars, and maned wolves were more likely to be present in quadrats located inside than outside the park. The effort required for detection of scats was highest for the two felids. We were able to detect the presence for each of five wide-ranging species inside and outside the park and to assign occurrence probabilities to specific survey sites. Thus, scat dogs provide an effective survey tool for rare species even when accurate detection likelihoods are required. We believe the way we used scat-detection dogs to determine the presence of species can be applied to the detection of other mammalian species in other ecosystems. © 2010 Society for Conservation Biology.

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