[MARMAM] In Memory: Nélio Baptista Barros, 1960-2010

kmchugh at mote.org kmchugh at mote.org
Wed Feb 17 06:26:53 PST 2010

In Memory: Nélio Baptista Barros, 1960-2010

Dr. Nélio Baptista Barros passed away on Feb 10, 2010 in Tillamook, Oregon
after a battle with cancer. He was born in Vila Velha, ES, Brazil on Jan
23, 1960. He received his BSc in Biological Oceanography in 1982 (Brazil)
and then moved to the United States where he received his Master’s degree
from Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at the
University of Miami in Biological Oceanography in July 1987, and earned
his PhD from RSMAS under Dr. Dan Odell in 1993. He worked as a marine
mammal consultant at SeaWorld in Orlando during 1991-1999, and as a
Research Biologist and Senior Research Biologist at Hubbs-SeaWorld
Research Institute during 1994-2000.  He joined Mote Marine Laboratory in
Sarasota, Florida, and served as Program Manager for Mote’s Stranding
Investigations Program during 2000-2006, creating a model stranding
response program for the southeastern U.S., and developing a laboratory
for cetacean stomach content analyses.  Dr. Barros then moved to Oregon
and worked with Portland State University as a coordinator for the
northern Oregon and southern Washington Stranding Network. He was an
expert in feeding ecology of small and large cetaceans using stomachs and
tissue samples to examine prey and trophic level interactions. He
contributed to field studies throughout the world including the southeast
coast of the United States, Hong Kong, Brazil, South Africa and the
western United States. He authored or co-authored 34 peer-reviewed papers
or book chapters, and helped many others with their publications,
especially Latin American colleagues, through his constructive reviews and
by serving as Editor of The Latin American Journal of Aquatic Mammals.  He
was called upon often by institutions and government wildlife management
agencies to provide information on the feeding habits of cetaceans and
pinnipeds during Unusual Mortality Events and mass stranding events. He
examined small structures including fish otoliths and cephalopod parts to
determine ingested prey in stranded animals and later expanded this work
by utilizing tissue samples for stable isotope analysis to determine
longer term trends in trophic food webs.  He contributed significantly to
our understanding of the importance of sound-producing fish in the diets
of bottlenose dolphins, and filled in many gaps in our knowledge of the
biology and ecology of difficult-to-study pygmy and dwarf sperm whales.

Dr. Barros was an avid organic gardener and loved to harvest eggs from his
flock of free-range chickens (“his girls”). He was also a remarkable baker
often surprising colleagues and friends with warm chocolate chip cookies
hot from the oven. He travelled often for both work and pleasure. Along
with his native Portuguese, he was fluent in English, Spanish and French
and had been studying Russian.

He was a remarkable friend and mentor to many and will always be
remembered for his smile, generous spirit and his diligent work on behalf
of marine mammals all over the globe.

He is survived by his life partner Fred Casey, and his mother, father,
brother and sister in Brazil.

A reception in honor of Nélio will be held at the Jean Hendry Conference
Hall of Mote Marine Laboratory’s Marine Mammal Center at 3:00 pm on
Saturday, 27 February, followed by a potluck celebration of his life at
the home of Randall and Martha Wells in Sarasota, Florida.  Please contact
Randy Wells at rwells at mote.org or (941) 388-2705 if you are able to
attend, and to get details and directions.  If you are unable to attend,
but wish to provide a video message, please prepare it in Windows Media
(preferred) or QuickTime format, and embedded into a PowerPoint 2004 slide
(please include both kinds of files in the same folder and send on CD; do
not send in PowerPoint 2007).  Audio recordings may be sent in MP3 or Wav
formats on CD.  Video messages should be sent to Randy Wells at Mote
Marine Laboratory, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Nélio’s name may be made to help
repair the vandalized Cape Meares Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge, near his
home in Oregon.  To donate, please go to: 
http://capemeareslighthouse.org/index.html.  Alternatively, donations may
be made to help support the operations of Mote Marine Laboratory’s
Stranding Investigations Program.  Checks may be sent to Mote Marine
Laboratory, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236, with a
notation: “In memory of Nélio Barros.”

Submitted in loving memory by:
Megan Stolen
Ruth DeLynn
Debbie Duffield
Randall Wells

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