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Iriarte V.,Calles 25 y 26 | Marmontel M.,Mamiraua Institute for Sustainable Development
Journal of Cetacean Research and Management | Year: 2014

In the Amazon Basin, the use of the pink dolphin or boto (Inia geoffrensis) for bait in the piracatinga (Calophysus macropterus) fishery was first detected in the year 2000. Since then, this artisanal fishery has become more prevalent as it requires only a few hours of work per night and provides immediate cash earnings. It is thus an attractive addition to (or replacement for) traditional fishing. Previous reports have noted the use of botos as bait, but stated that the most common bait used arc caimans (Melanosuchus niger, Caiman crocodilus). Estimates of the number of dolphins killed based on fish landings have been proposed and an apparent decrease in sighting/survival of an artificially-marked boto population was observed. Although stocks/population estimates, trends and actual numbers of hunted dolphins are unknown, the conservation impacts of this activity are of concern. Between October 2010 and November 2011, research was conducted within an area with serious conflicts between dolphins and fishermen as well as intense fishing for piracatinga, i.e. in the lower Japura River, on the border with the Mamiraua and Amana Sustainable Development Reserves, where both boto and tucuxi (Sotalia Jluviatilis) are used for bait. One-hundred and fifty-seven monitoring surveys were carried out in eight key communities, confirming 114 piracatinga fishing events through direct monitoring and incognito surveys of fishing gear (gaiolas). Empirical evidence of the activity in gaiolas comprised pieces of bait, carcass remains, piracatinga provoked vomits and dolphin fished carcasses. Of those, 31.2% (n = 35) involved cetacean bait (91.4% /. geoffrensis, 8.58% S. Jluviatilis), 68.7% (ii = 77) caiman bait (96% M. niger, 4% C. crocodilus), and two fishing events used both types. These percentages may be higher/lower in other areas within and outside the Reserves. Given the increasing trend of the piracatinga fishery, the authors believe that precautionary measures for the conservation of Amazonian dolphins are urgently needed. Development of practical short-term solutions (e.g. offal-baited fish traps) and multispecics management together with law enforcement, incentives and educational programmes could allow the future transition of riverine communities from the piracatinga fishery to sustainable, higher income activities.

Magurran A.E.,University of St. Andrews | Queiroz H.,Mamiraua Institute for Sustainable Development
Biotropica | Year: 2010

The exceptional biodiversity of tropical forests inspired the earliest ecologists such as H. W. Bates. Today we still strive to quantify and understand this diversity. Drawing on our own experience of Mamirauá reserve in Amazonas, which is located in an area that Bates explored, we argue that the emphasis of research in tropical ecosystems should shift away from species richness as an end in itself, and focus instead on other fundamental, but more tractable, questions that will increase our ecological understanding of these systems, support conservation management, and appeal to policy makers and society in general. © 2010 The Author(s). Journal compilation © 2010 by The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation.

Fermino B.R.,University of Sao Paulo | Viola L.B.,University of Sao Paulo | Paiva F.,Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul | Garcia H.A.,Central University of Venezuela | And 7 more authors.
Parasites and Vectors | Year: 2013

Background: Little is known about the diversity, phylogenetic relationships, and biogeography of trypanosomes infecting non-mammalian hosts. In this study, we investigated the influence of host species and biogeography on shaping the genetic diversity, phylogenetic relationship, and distribution of trypanosomes from South American alligatorids and African crocodilids. Methods. Small Subunit rRNA (SSU rRNA) and glycosomal Glyceraldehyde Phosphate Dehydrogenase (gGAPDH) genes were employed for phylogenetic inferences. Trypanosomes from crocodilians were obtained by haemoculturing. Growth behaviour, morphology, and ultrastructural features complement the molecular description of two new species strongly supported by phylogenetic analyses. Results: The inferred phylogenies disclosed a strongly supported crocodilian-restricted clade comprising three subclades. The subclade T. grayi comprised the African Trypanosoma grayi from Crocodylus niloticus and tsetse flies. The subclade T. ralphi comprised alligatorid trypanosomes represented by Trypanosoma ralphi n. sp. from Melanosuchus niger, Caiman crocodilus and Caiman yacare from Brazilian river basins. T. grayi and T. ralphi were sister subclades. The basal subclade T. terena comprised alligatorid trypanosomes represented by Trypanosoma terena n. sp. from Ca. yacare sharing hosts and basins with the distantly genetic related T. ralphi. This subclade also included the trypanosome from Ca. crocodilus from the Orinoco basin in Venezuela and, unexpectedly, a trypanosome from the African crocodilian Osteolaemus tetraspis. Conclusion: The close relationship between South American and African trypanosomes is consistent with paleontological evidence of recent transoceanic dispersal of Crocodylus at the Miocene/Pliocene boundaries (4-5 mya), and host-switching of trypanosomes throughout the geological configuration of South American hydrographical basins shaping the evolutionary histories of the crocodilians and their trypanosomes. © 2013 Fermino et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Arantes C.C.,Institute Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazonia | Arantes C.C.,Mamiraua Institute for Sustainable Development | Arantes C.C.,University Estadual Of Santa Cruz | Castello L.,New York University | And 3 more authors.
Environmental Biology of Fishes | Year: 2013

This study investigated the environmental factors influencing the distribution of the endangered arapaima (Arapaima spp.) in floodplains of the Amazon. The abundance of arapaima was found to be positively related to the area and depth of the water column, and hence volume of lakes. Greater depth of water column also was related positively with the abundance and presence of arapaima in connecting channels. The abundance of arapaima was positively related to the connectivity of the lake with other water bodies. The principal reason for arapaima to prefer habitats that are deep, large, and connected to other water bodies appears to be increased survival through lower susceptibility to extreme drought events and increased mobility and availability of food resources. Deeper, larger, and more connected lakes and connecting channels sustain greater arapaima populations; they can now be used to prioritize conservation efforts. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Hercos A.P.,Mamiraua Institute for Sustainable Development
Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society | Year: 2013

Because most species in an ecological assemblage are rare, much of the species richness we value is due to taxa with few individuals or a restricted distribution. It has been apparent since the time of ecological pioneers such as Bates and Darwin that tropical systems have disproportionately large numbers of rare species, yet the distribution and abundance patterns of these species remain largely unknown. Here, we examine the diversity of freshwater fish in a series of lakes in the Amazonian várzea, and relate relative abundance, both as numbers of individuals and as biomass, to the occurrence of species in space and time. We find a bimodal relationship of occurrence that distinguishes temporally and spatially persistent species from those that are infrequent in both space and time. Logistic regression reveals that information on occurrence helps distinguish those species that are rare in this locality but abundant elsewhere, from those that are rare throughout the region. These results form a link between different approaches used to evaluate commonness and rarity. In doing so, they provide a tool for identifying species of high conservation priority in poorly documented but species rich localities.

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