A Delegation of the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture Met with CO.BRA Field Research Team in the Pantanal
A delegation of the Federal German Ministry of Food and Agriculture, led by State Secretary Dr. Robert Kloos, visited the SESC Pantanal Ecological Reserve on September 22 – 23. Our CO.BRA field team members, together with the project coordinators, were invited to a lunch meeting and a project presentation during this governmental mission to the Brazilian Pantanal.
Photo: From far left to right: State Secretary Dr. Robert Kloos with spouse; Dr. Cristina Cuiabália, SESC Pantanal; Jhuan Schneider, Chef de Cuisine SESC Pantanal; Professor Dr. Marinêz Isaac Marques, INAU Project Coordinator, INAU / UFMT; delegates from the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture with CO.BRA research team members.
The INAU Pantanal BioData Center, IPBC, is Put into Service
A major achievement for the INAU / UFMT biological research disciplines has become reality. Since mid September a server unit with storage and application capacities of over 100 TB is put into service. It will host CO.BRA´s audivisual Pantanal archives of several years of data collection and, in the future, the scientific data of the biological collections, including metadata from the northern Pantanal.
To establish such a data center many persons from the UFMT administration provided immense logistic and financial support, namely the Pro-Rector of PROPLAN, Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Aparecida Furtado de Mendoça and the Head of the IT Service Department, STI, Dr. Alexandre Martins dos Anjos. Besides invaluable help came from the INAU Directors Prof. Dr. Paulo Teixeira, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Junk, and the Brehm Foundation of International Bird Conservation, Germany.
Photo: Left: Dr. Ana Silvia Tissiani, CsF Post-Doc and IPBC Manager; right: IT specialist Klaus Loenze from Cologne, Germany, who installed the hard and software of the server unit.
High Predation Rates at Black Skimmer Nesting Site - News from our INAU / Pantanal Waterbird Study Group
The fieldwork at the Rio Cuiaba nesting colony started with the onset of the reproductive period in the second half of July. At this time a total number of 104 individuals of three species were present (Black Skimmer, Rhynchps niger: 96; Large-billed Tern, Phaetusa simplex: 2; Yellow-billed Tern, Sternula superciliaris: 6). At the beginning of the study some of the 24 registered Black Skimmer nests with eggs were already abandoned, others were stepwise given up in the following weeks, but new ones still built. Until now 8 active Black Skimmer nests still exist. However of the 12 hatched offspring only 50% survived the first week, three weeks later only one was still alive. The Roadside Hawk (Buteo magnirostris) together with the Jabiru (Jabiru mycteria) account for the high loss of skimmer juveniles. Egg predation was observed only recently. Footprints around the nests together with eggshell remains indicate the Golden Tegu lizard (Tupinambus teguixin) as a major predator. The reproductive period of skimmers and terns at our Pantanal study site ends around beginning of October. We will keep you updated with more news on that issue by September.
Photo: Jabiru (Jabiru mycteria) predating on a Black Skimmer (Rhynchps niger) chick at the Rio Cuiaba study site.
CO.BRA / INAU´s Nesting Colony Study at Rio Cuiaba, Northern Pantanal
Shorebirds like terns and the skimmer occur on the open ocean and along coastal beaches. In South America they are frequently seen inland along rivers and large lakes where they feed on fish and small aquatic invertebrates. In the Pantanal the Yellow-billed Tern (Sternula superciliaris) and the Large-billed Tern (Phaetusa simplex) are permanent residents, frequently seen jointly roosting in flocks on river sand bars or found brooding in mixed colonies together with the bizarre gull-like Black Skimmer (Rychops nigra). In the northern Pantanal the three species breed between June / July to September, depending on the annual inundation regime, at traditional nest sites. For our study on the reproductive biology of the two tern species and the skimmer we chose one of the smallest known colonies on an easy accessible sand bar in the Cuiaba River. The headquarter of our waterbird monitoring team is a houseboat (see photo) from where the colony can be reached within minutes. Presently the egg brooding activities are still ongoing but a few young already hatched (see photos below). Frequent updates of this study will be published at this news section.
Photos: Impressions from our Rio Cuiaba (northern Pantanal) study site. A. Our idyllic houseboat with the inspiring name “Felicidade“ (“Happiness“) is the temporal home of our waterbird study group. B. Rhynchops niger, parents attending and feeding young; C. Sternula superciliaris with young; D. Phaetusa simplex, brooding; E. Phaetusa simplex, nest with clutch. © CO.BRA / INAU
Invited Biology Congress Lecture
The “Sounds of the Pantanal Project“ (CO.BRA / INAU) was presented by Prof. Dr. Marinez I. Marques at the National Congress of Biologists in Cuiaba. Over 100 congress participants attended her invited plenary lecture held on July 1. This congress, organized by the Conselho Nacional de Biologia, covers a wide range of biological topics, including research activites of the hosting university. Since Cuiaba is the portal to the Pantanal of Mato Grosso with the UFMT as a major international location for the Pantanal wetland research (e.g., The National Institute for Wetland Research, INAU / INCT), several scientific congress presentations and excursions focused on various ongoing Pantanal research projects, including the one run by our CO.BRA team.
Photo: Plenary lecture by Prof. Dr. Marinez I. Marques, UFMT / CO.BRA /INAU, held at the National Congress of Biologists in Cuiaba July 2015.
New CO.BRA / INAU Project on the
Reproductive Biology of Black Skimmers
and Large-billed Terns
Our team members Mona Hegmann, Julia Nonn, Martin Schley (University of Cologne and Zoological Research Museum A. Koenig, Bonn, Germany), Karina Pinheiro Zaratim, and Filipe Ferreira de Deus (UFMT, Cuiaba, Mato Grosso, Brazil) start this months a field study on the reproductive biology of a mixed inland nesting colony of Black Skimmers (Rynchops niger) and Large-billed Terns (Phaetusa simplex) at an exposed sand bar in the Cuiaba River. Both species breed in the northern Pantanal from June/July to September. During this period the researchers will study the nest site selection, onset of nesting, clutch size, parental care, antagonistic encounters as well as the intraspecific and interspecific acoustic behaviours between parent birds and their young. Another research focus will cover the ontogenetic development of chicks including their growth and survival rate. This project will provide insights into reproductive strategies and fitness parameters of two little studied migratory colony breeders. Information on potential nest site conservation measures is one of the expected outcomes of this research. The project is supported by the Brehm Foundation for International Bird Conservation, Germany; INAU, SESC, and the UFMT, Brazil.
Photo: Colony of Black Skimmers (Rynchops niger, red and black bills) and Large-billed Terns (Phaetusa simplex, yellow bills) at our Rio Cuiaba study site. © INAU / CO.BRA
CO.BRA Website Receives International
The CO.BRA website, established in 2013, is receiving an increasing world-wide attention by researchers from universities, research institutions, governmental agencies, and non-governmental organizations. The fields of disciplines represented by our visitors are manyfold ranging from computational sciences, bioacoustics, physics, environmental sciences, conservation, tropical ecology, animal behavior, vegetation sciences, education departments to national science foundations. Several hundred clicks per months are meanwhile a standard visitation rate from scientists and science administrators in over 40 countries.
Figure: Blue dots represent the regional coverange of CO.BRA website visitors in 44 countries.
CO.BRA Training Workshop for Young Research
Dr. Olaf Jahn, a CO.BRA core team research member, conducted a training workshop on the compilation of Caiman yacare signal free background libraries at the Institute of Biosciences, LETA, UFMT from June 23 – July 10. The participating new team members were introduced to identify and select soundscapes based on real-field audio recordings from CO.BRA´s Bioacoustics Research Project in the northern Pantanal. Following topics were covered during the nine-day workshop: (1) Acquisition of soundscapes with autonomous recording units (ARUs); (2) visualization of low frequency acoustic signals in spectrograms; (3) examples and characteristics of sound types emitted by the target species, including infrasonic vibrations; (4) screening of original soundscapes recorded at oxbow lakes for the presence of Caiman yacare sounds; (5) sorting of the screened files according to the number and intensity of Caiman yacare signals; (6) renaming of target signal free background files via a batch process; and (7) uploading of background files to the FTP server of the project. With such detailed technical expertice the new CO.BRA team members proceeded to compile background libraries required for the developement of an automated acoustic Caiman yacare detector.
Photo: Dr. Olaf Jahn (center, back), explaining to workshop participants the technical details of acoustic signals in spectrograms.
Free INAU Publication Available
The INAU research group of Prof. Dr. Wolfgang J. Junk, scientific coordinator of the INAU research program, released in May 2015 an important publication on the classification of Brazilian wetlands entitled: Classificação e Delineamento das Areas Umidas Brasileiras e de seus Macrohabitats. The publication is now avaialble as a free E-book download. Interested? Press our download button. (Download)
New CO.BRA Team Member
Since May 2015 Dr. Ana Silvia de Oliveira Tissiani is part of the CO.BRA core team. She received a Post-Doc Grant from the Science without Borders Program (CNPq / INAU) to assist the project at all coordination and research levels. Dr. Ana Silvia did her PhD in tropical agriculture with emphasis in entomology. Further, she obtained a MSc degree in Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation. All academic merits were received from the Federal University of Mato Grosso. Her fields of expertise cover ecology, entomofauna of the Pantanal, and insect distribuiton patterns.
Photo: Our new CO.BRA team member, Dr. Ana Silvia de Oliveira Tissiani.
UFMT / PPGZOO Course on Scientific Production
The CO.BRA research team coordinators Profa. Marinez I. Marques, UFMT, and Prof. Charly Schuchmann, UFMT and University of Bonn, Germany, conducted the first Master course in English, entitled “Science, how to talk and write about it“ at the UFMT´s Biology Institute, Laboratory of Ecology and Taxonomy of Arthropods, in April / May 2015. The participants were introduced to career-relevant skills on how to optimize the design of a scientific poster presentation and on how to proceed with a concise planning and realization of orals for seminars and congresses. Another focus of the course dealt with the structure, content, and language elaboration of biological manuscripts for international scientifc journals. Each of these three teaching topics were complemented by practical tasks conducted by each student.
Photo: PPGZOO / LETA, course participants with lecturer Profa. Marinez I. Marques (center, back). © CO.BRA / INAU
News from our Mammal Survey in the Southern Pantanal: Analysis of Species Assemblages and Ecology with a Focus on the Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla)
A long-term camera trap survey at Fazenda Barranco Alto, our study site in the southern Pantanal, provides increasing insights into abundance and habitat use of terrestrial mammals. Until today camera traps were placed at 80 different camera sites on 331 occasions (2317 trapping nights), covering several complete annual cycles. Our field work in 2014 added 40 occasions to the existing data set currently analyzed.
Since the Giant Anteater represents an important flag ship species for the region, we collected additional movement patterns of individuals using a photo registry and a GPS-device to trace back recording positions. In 2014 we sighted and photographed Giant Anteaters for 58 times, adding up to an overall data set of 259 anteater records. Based on their characteristic fur patterns, photographs are an important data source to analyze individual activities and habitat preferences. Besides we expect, for the first time, significant long-term information on the social organization and home-range behavior of M. tridactyla.
Photo: Female Giant Anteater with young. © INAU / CO.BRA
INAU Project in Focus - GLOBO TV
On January 10, the Brazilian National TV, Rede Globo, showed a another documentation of our Pantanal research in thee national morning program “Como Será“ ('Sons do Pantanal estuda os barulhos emitidos pelos pássaros da região').