[MARMAM] ECS workshop on Aquatic mammals from Latin America

Krishna Das phocoena73 at gmail.com
Tue Feb 4 00:15:02 PST 2014


On Saturday 5 April 2014 (afternoon) at the upcoming Annual Conference of
the European Cetacean Society, there will be an international workshop on:


Abstract: The workshop (WS) intends to discuss current problems faced by
aquatic mammals that inhabit Latin American waters. The perspective of the
continent's economic growth and the consequent use and degradation of its
rivers and coastal zones constitutes a matter of concern for the
conservation of coastal and riverine aquatic mammals. A large set of
construction works is planned for the establishment of hydroelectric power
plants, harbours, shipyards and industries on Latin American rivers and
coastal bays. Many of these aquatic systems have been suffering from a
large series of different types of pressure, as well as they have been
going through broad dredging and even submarine demolishing. This
anthropogenic pressure results in habitat degradation, physical, acoustic
and chemical pollution and their consequences. Some Latin American bays
seem to be on the same degradation path once followed by one of the most
anthropogenically-disturbed estuaries around the globe, the Guanabara Bay
(GB), in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Guanabara Bay presents a residual Guiana
dolphin (*Sotalia guianensis*) population assessed to be around 40
individuals only. The situation of the GB dolphins exemplifies the fact
that many populations from species that are not officially regarded as
threatened are facing extinction, which may hamper the gene flow. Taking
this problem into consideration, the situation of riverine aquatic mammals
should be highlighted, since hydroelectric dams may hamper the gene flow as
well. Other examples of species regarded as common yet being regionally
threatened are provided by bottlenose dolphin (*Tursiops truncatus*) and
South American sea lion (*Otaria flavescens*). T. truncatus presents many
local populations in Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina being small, isolated
and declining due to the effects of ever increasing anthropogenic impacts
as pollution, overfishing and bycatch. Concerning the abovementioned
pinniped species, the situation of the sharp population decline of the
Uruguay and northern Argentina stocks should be emphasised. Small and
endemic coastal cetacean species, as franciscana dolphins (*Pontoporia
blainvillei*) and vaquita (*Phocoena sinus*) are particularly vulnerable to
incidental catches in gillnets, and the high levels of mortality are
responsible for the critical conservation status of both species. Of
particular interest is the La Plata river estuary, one of the most impacted
environments in the world, characterized by continental inputs of organic
and inorganic contaminants, as well as drugs. Precisely, P. blainvillei
inhabits the outer zone of the estuary of the river. Although intentional
hunting of marine mammals still exists in a few Latin American nations,
most countries have ceased to hunt a few decades ago, using marine mammals
in a non-lethal way to increase their socio-economic standards. However,
the ever-increasing touristic activities focused on aquatic mammals also
raise concern. This is especially important in the north of Brazil, where
the artificial feeding of botos (*Inia spp.*) for tourism seems to be
insufficiently controlled. In this context, the WS intends to discuss the
status of the "Araguaian boto" (*Inia araguaiaensis*), the new species of
river dolphin from Brazil, as well as the current situation of the most
threatened species of Latin America. For accomplishing this last task, the
WS intends also to discuss the recovery of mysticeti and sirenian
populations after the hunting period, as well as the conservation status of
the most endangered mustelid species, such as the giant (*Pteronura
brasiliensis*), the marine (*Lontra felina*) and the southern river (*Lontra
provocax*) otters.

If you would like to offer a presentation or simply attend, please contact:

*Prof.  Paulo Renato Dorneles in charge of the organization: *

*dorneles at biof.ufrj.br <dorneles at biof.ufrj.br> *

Paulo Renato Dorneles
Professor Adjunto UFRJ Polo Xerém
Laboratório de Radioisótopos Eduardo Penna Franca
Instituto de Biofísica Carlos Chagas Filho
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
UFRJ, CCS, Bloco G, subsolo, sala G0-62
Cidade Universitária, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

Looking forward to seeing you at the next ECS conference,


Krishna Das
Co-chair of the 28th Conference of the European Cetacean Society

F.R.S. - FNRS Research Associate
University of Liege
Laboratory for Oceanology - MARE Research Center
Allée de la Chimie 17 , B6C, Institut de Chimie
4000, Liege (Sart-Tilman), Belgium
Tel: (+32) 4 366 3321
Website: http://www2.ulg.ac.be/oceanbio/
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