Long Term Ecological Research

Catimbau National Park Site

Field Course of Ecology and Conservation of the Caatinga 2019

The Caatinga Ecology and Conservation Field Course (ECCA) continues to stand out among the field courses in Brazil regarding the training of human resources (i.e. focusing on masters and PhD students) in the areas of Ecology and Conservation. In 2019, the XII ECCA took place between the 3 and 17 of June, in the Catimbau National Park. The course is promoted by the Postgraduate Program in Plant Biology at the University Federal of Pernambuco (PPGBV-UFPE) and, this year, it had the theme “Anthropic disturbance and resilience of the Caatinga”.

More than 70 students from different universities and nationalities have undergone scientific training throughout the editions of the course. Six books have already been published with the results of the projects developed in the courses (the seventh and eighth books are in the final stage of preparation). The course has also had the participation of several renowned researchers, from national and international universities.

Dynamics and objectives of the XII ECCA

The course covered several academic activities, such as expository lectures covering different topics in ecology and biodiversity conservation, plus the design, execution and exhibition of group projects with potential applications for forest restoration. Thus, the participants had the opportunity to develop and polish several skills related to the academic career, such as learning how to elaborate clear hypotheses, define an adequate experimental design, organize data collection and improve their oral and written communication. During the entire course, the participants were encouraged to discuss concepts and execute emerging ecological restoration practices applied to dry forests.

This year, we had 14 participants from different parts of Brazil, carrying out projects dedicated to investigating various ecological processes that occur in the scenario of anthropogenic disturbances. Among the performed projects, the students monitored the pilot activities carried out in the previous year of the course (i.e. 2018) in order to find viable alternatives for the Caatinga restoration. We also had projects that tested classic ecological theories, such as the biogeography of islands and the assembly of communities, in addition to experiments on predation, competition, allelopathy, foraging and herbivory, comprising different biological groups.

 

The XII edition of the ECCA had the participation and guidance of the course organizers, Prof. Dr. Inara Leal and Prof. Dr. Marcelo Tabarelli, and the guest Dr. Victor Arroyo-Rodríguez, from the Universidade Autónoma do México (UNAM). The course also had the support of doctoral students from the PPGBV-UFPE as monitors: Msc Haymée de Alencar, Renato Vanderlei and Silvia Caroline. The book corresponding to this edition of the course will be released soon, containing more than 20 projects developed during the course of this year.

Field Course of Ecology and Conservation of the Caatinga 2018

The Field Course of Ecology and Conservation of the Caatinga()(ECCA, in portuguese) has been increasing the capacity of communication and human resources in the areas of ecology and conservation. In 2018, the XI ECCA took place from May 6 to 20, in the Catimbau National Park. The course is promoted by the Post-Graduate Program in Plant Biology of the Federal University of Pernambuco (PPGBV-UFPE) and this year will be focused on "Restoration Ecology of the Caatinga".

Dynamics and objectives of XI ECCA

 

The dynamics of the course included lectures on various themes in ecology and biodiversity conservation, as well as the design, execution and exhibition of group projects with potential applications for forest restoration. Thus, the participants had the opportunity to train skills related to scientific practice (elaboration of hypotheses, definition of sampling / experimental design, data collection and oral and written communication), discussing concepts and implementing emerging ecological restoration practices applied to Dry Forests as the Caatinga.

The Caatinga has already had six editions of a Field Course, assisting in the training of more than 60 students from several universities, whose work is included in four books already published with the results of the projects developed in the courses (the fifth and sixth books are in final preparation phase).

 

During the course, some pilot activities were also carried out for the Caatinga restoration project that will be carried out in the Catimbau National Park. The project, which is a partnership between Professors Felipe Melo (UFPE) and Professor Gislene Ganade (UFRN), also has the collaboration of professors Marcelo Tabarelli and Inara Leal, and aims at the application of recent scientific findings of the ecology group of Natal -RN on techniques to increase the survival of transplanted plants to restoration areas in the Caatinga.

 

The activities also had the participation of Professor Geraldo Wilson Fernandes (UFMG), invited professor of the course, collaborator Pieter Vranckx and the students participating in the course. It was an excellent opportunity for students to have the experience of participating in the application of the techniques and discussing this approach.

For more information, visit the research group site of Professor Gislene Ganade.

Field Course of Ecology and Conservation of the Caatinga 2017

Field courses in ecology and conservation are a tool adopted for many years throughout the world as they are recognized as the best way to train ecologists, conservation biologists and natural resource managers 'in loco'. Some of the most recognized are offered by the Organization for Tropical Studies - OTS in Costa Rica and Peru (http://www.ots.ac.cr/). These courses consist of intensive training of students in concepts and tools of ecology and conservation of biodiversity. In Brazil, some of these courses are already consolidated and have existed for almost 20 years, as is the case of the Amazon Forest Ecology course (https://sites.google.com/site/ecologiadaflorestamazonica/home) offered by the National Institute of Amazonia-INPA. Others, such as the Pantanal Ecology field course, have been offered uninterruptedly for more than 10 years (http://www.dbi.ufms.br/ecopan/index.htm).

 

The Caatinga has already had six field course editions organized by the Department of Botany of the Federal University of Pernambuco - UFPE, assisting in the training of more than 60 students from several universities, whose work is included in four books already published with the results of the projects Developed in the courses (the fifth and sixth books are in final preparation phase).

 

Goals

Provide the student with the ability to identify issues, formulate hypotheses, develop methodologies and execute ecology projects in the Caatinga ecosystem. Provide a theoretical framework and practical experience in the analysis of spatial distribution, demography and population dynamics, as well as interactions among species, structure and function of communities. Also, offer training in tools and concepts of conservation biology such as: conservation status of biological diversity, ecosystem functioning and main threats to the Caatinga ecosystem.

 

More details at: https://sites.google.com/site/cursocaatinga/

1st CNPq-DFG Brazil-Germany Workshop presentations

Inara Leal - Anthropogenic disturbances, climate changes and the future of Caatinga biota.

 

Andreas Floren - Arboreal arthropods in human-disturbed and native ecosystems in Borneo. 

 

Burkhard Budel - Preliminary observations and research proposal on the role of biological soil crusts in the Caatinga.

 

Inara Leal - Long Term Ecological Research on the Caatinga: ongoing and planned projects in the Catimbau National Park.

 

Ingo Grass - Phylogenies, functional traits andcommunities under global change.

 

Jayne Belnap - Biological soil crusts National park design, management, and policies.

 

Kevin Bähner - Effects of forest fragmentation and climate change on plantherbivoreinteraction networks.

 

Leonor Álvarez Cansino - Drought vulnerability and Caatinga forest community changes driven by anthropogenic disturbance.Determining traits for drought resistance across precipitation and land use gradients.

 

Marcelo Tabarelli - The Caatinga Vegetation:ecology and conservation.

 

Mrs Höbener - Instruments and funding opportunities for bilateral and international research collaborations.

 

Natalie Kunz - Vegetation dynamics in the Succulent Karoo: The role of grazing pressure and Biological Soil Crusts.

 

Rainer Wirth - Biotic interactions under human pressure: Research issues, thoughts, and preliminary observations from Catimbau.

 

Sebastian Meyer - Arthropod mediated ecosystem functions along land-use gradients and their relation to biodiversity.

 

Timm Hoffman - Measuring long-term vegetation change in Southern Africa in response to land use.

 

Wolfram Beyschlag - Why do Plants coexist?

 

 

 

© 2016 by Teixeira.