[MARMAM] new article on cetaceans' ethnotaxonomy

Shirley Pacheco shirleypacheco at yahoo.com
Thu Mar 22 05:44:48 PDT 2007

Dear Marmamers,
   The following paper has been published:
  Souza, S.P. and Begossi, A. Whales, dolphins or fishes? The ethnotaxonomy of cetaceans in São Sebastião, Brazil. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2007, 3:9   

  The local knowledge of human populations about the natural world has been addressed through ethnobiological studies, especially concerning resources uses and their management. Several criteria, such as morphology, ecology, behavior, utility and salience, have been used by local communities to classify plants and animals. Studies regarding fishers' knowledge on cetaceans in the world, especially in Brazil, began in the last decade. Our objective is to investigate the folk classification by fishers concerning cetaceans, and the contribution of fishers' local knowledge to the conservation of that group. In particular, we aim to record fishers' knowledge in relation to cetaceans, with emphasis on folk taxonomy. The studied area is São Sebastião, located in the southeastern coast of Brazil, where 70 fishers from 14 communities were selected according to their fishing experience and interviewed through questionnaires about classification, nomenclature and ecological aspects of
 local cetaceans' species. Our results indicated that most fishers classified cetaceans as belonging to the life-form 'fish'. Fishers' citations for the nomenclature of the 11 biological species (10 biological genera), resulted in 14 folk species (3 generic names). Fishers' taxonomy was influenced mostly by the phenotypic and cultural salience of the studied cetaceans. Cultural transmission, vertical and horizontal, was intimately linked to fishers' classification process. The most salient species, therefore well recognized and named, were those most often caught by gillnets, in addition to the biggest ones and those most exposed by media, through TV programs, which were watched and mentioned by fishers. Our results showed that fishers' ecological knowledge could be a valuable contribution to cetaceans' conservation, helping to determine areas and periods for their protection, indicating priority topics for research and participating in alternative management related to the
 gillnet fisheries.

   You can get pdf copies at:
  Best wishes,
  Shirley Pacheco de Souza

Shirley Pacheco de Souza 
Diretora Executiva - Instituto Terra & Mar 
Projeto SOS Mamíferos Marinhos 
  PPG - Ecologia - UNICAMP
Tel.: (12) 3862-1099 / 9144-6100 

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