At BiMa-Lab, Bird and Mammal Evolution, Systematics and Ecology Lab, we study several aspects of vertebrate evolution, systematics, ecology and conservation. Currently, our projects focus on factors affecting patterns of diversity in ecosystems, assemblages, populations and species traits, and the scales of approach go from local to global. Most of our work is applied to ecosystem and animal conservation and management, always keeping in mind the human dimensions of wildlife, under a logic of sustainability.

We are based at the Department of Zoology of the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.



Congratulations to Ana Lino for her PhD and Pedro Luz, Gisele Bolze, Isadora Lobato, David Bennet, Vicky Graves, Paula Horn and Fernanda Ribeiro for their MSc degrees!!!

In her thesis Ana studied patterns and processes relating neotropical bats and habitat fragmentation. Pedro modeled loggerhead and green turtles strandings in the southwestern Atlantic, Gisele descibed habitat use and activity patterns of the ocelot in the southern limit of its distribution, the Atlantic Forest of Rio Grande do Sul. Isadora evaluated population structure and differential use of anthropogenic habitats by the Brazilian free-tailed bat in southern Brazil. David identified species of Neotropical marsupials which need more protected areas
coverage, gaps in knowledge gaps for this species group and also which species are most threatened by climate change. Vicky evaluated how occupancy and abundance of austral Atlantic forest carnivorans of different biomass classifications are affected by anthropogenic disturbance. Paula estimate density and activity patterns of margay populations in six areas with different habitat types and anthropogenic disturbances inthe southernmost Atlantic Forest biome. Finally, Fernanda evaluated entry forms and the final destination of mastofauna that arrives at the wildlife rescue center and zoo in Rio Grande do Sul (RS).


Digital Fauna of Rio Grande do Sul is online!

The Neotropical region is the most biodiverse region on the planet. Because it is included within different biogeographic regions, and includes a biome that does not exist in other Brazilian states, Pampa, Rio Grande do Sul has  very high faunistic diversity of species, and quite different from the rest of the country. This project will seek to provide all interested citizens with information on the fauna of Rio Grande do Sul, highlighting species endemic to the state and taking advantage of the existence of a strong tradition of zoological research in UFRGS and other entities in Rio Grande do Sul. In this first phase we catalogued all mammals of Rio Grande do Sul. The next phase will include coastal and marine birds. Visit the site here.

A meta-analysis of the effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on genetic diversity in mammals

In this study published in Mammalian Biology by Ana Lino (CESAM, Universidade de Aveiro), Carlos Fonseca (CESAM, Universidade de Aveiro), Danny Rojas (Departamento de Ciencias Naturales y Matemáticas de la Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali, Colômbia), Erich Fischer (PPGECO, Universidade Federal do Mato Grosso do Sul) and Maria João Ramos Pereira (PPGBAN-BiMaLab, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul) we tested if genetic diversity of mammal populations that live in fragments is lower than those living in continuous habitats and we explores potential traits related to the observed patterns.

Distribution of mammal species studied for effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on population genetic diversity, which were included in the meta-analysis in Lino et al. 2019.

We found an overall decrease in allelic diversity, allelic richness, observed heterozygosity and expected heterozygosity in mammal species livining in scenarios of high habitat fragmentation. Larger species are those most negatively affected by fragmentation; terrestrial and arboreal mammals are more negatively affected than flying species; herbivores suffer consistent negative effect of fragmentation; and forest-dependent species are the most susceptible to the negative effects of fragmentation.

BiMa-Lab’s paper – Who’s calling? Acoustic identification of Brazilian bats – highlited at BBC Brazil.


Our paper received quite the attention from BBC Brasil. Check the whole article here!




Eating down the food chain: generalism is not an evolutionary dead end for herbivores

A new study published in Ecology Letters (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ele.12911/full) by Danny Rojas (Departamento de Ciencias Naturales y Matemáticas de la Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali, Colômbia) Maria João Ramos Pereira (PPGBAN-BiMaLab, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul), Carlos Fonseca (CESAM, Universidade de Aveiro) and Liliana Dávalos (Stony Brook University, EUA)
elucidates the relationship between diet and speciation.

Here we found that a highly varied herbivorous diet (including for example fruits, nectar and pollen) or a predominantly herbivorous diet that includes some animal resources increases the formation of new species. In contrast, when bats specialize in a single type of plant product, the rate of formation of new species tends to decline. Therefore, general herbivory or a moderately insectivorous omnivory favors the increase of species diversity in an evolutionary setting, possibly because this strategy is a form of insurance against the erratic and unpredictable patterns of flowering and fruiting of plants in the Neotropics. The study has already had repercussion in the international scientific media.