III Hierarchical Modeling Workshop

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III Hierarchical Modeling Workshop

The III Porto Alegre Workshop on Hierarchical Modeling for Ecologists took place October 9-15, 2016. This was the third in a series of Porto Alegre Hierarchical Modeling Workshops, started in 2014. Each edition is focused on a particular modeling topic and the theme for 2016 is site-occupancy modeling with emphasis on the analysis of species distributions. The workshop opened with a one-day introduction to linear, generalized-linear and mixed models, describing their implementation in the Bayesian and likelihood frameworks. From day two on, we turned...

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Count Every Parrot

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Count Every Parrot

How many Vinaceous-breasted Parrots are there in western Santa Catarina? A group of six biologists from the Ferraz Lab and Unochapecó set out to answer this question in a recent field trip to the west of the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, from December 12th to 16th, 2015. Ours is one deceivingly simple question with far-reaching implications...

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Seminário de Biologia nº 24: Maria Cátira Bortolini

Evolução humana e de outros primatas: o que os dados genéticos nos contam a respeito

Dr. Bortolini’s talk revealed fascinating new possibilities of studying human evolution using genetic data.  Comparing available genome sequences from different primate species, her group is investigating characteristics that can make humans unique. Of particular interest are the genes that code for the oxytocin hormone (OXT) and its receptor (OXTR). They observed clear signs of positive selection in amino acid variants, both in OXT and OXTR among the primates studied, suggesting a process of co-evolution. Oxytocin is related to bonding and parental care and a functional alteration in its sequence, leading to enhanced activity might have propitiated a selective advantage.

In her talk, Dr. Bortolini showed as well some interesting examples of how human culture can push forward rapid evolutionary changes in our species. Two investigations led by her group showed modifications in the genes related to cholesterol metabolism and the advent of maize agriculture in Mesoamerican cultures. In Brazil a striking example is the morphological cranial shaping in the Xavante Amerindian tribes possibly due to sexual selection.

As usual the “Seminários da Biologia” gave us food for thought and reflection. I strongly invite you to come for the next sessions.

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Seminário de Biologia nº 23: Demétrio L. Guadanin

Discursos sobre exploração de recursos naturais renováveis e conservação da biodiversidade

Dr. Guadanin gave an instructive overview of the conceptual and terminological problems at the crossroads between social anthropology and natural resource management. The talk emphasized renewable natural resource use by 'traditional' human groups, but it appears that efforts to generalize knowledge about such use stumble on the definition of 'traditional' and get trapped in a labyrinth of reifications. We discussed the need to clarify concepts, as well as the relative impacts of extractivism and land use change on biodiversity conservation. Renewable natural resource use by whoever does it will be more amenable to study once the people who do the use are sufficiently educated and empowered to formalize their economic activity. In the meantime, researchers may want to complement the social anthropology perspective with a microeconomic approach to solving the most pressing problems. 

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IV Bird Banding and Molt Analysis Course

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IV Bird Banding and Molt Analysis Course

Is a bird in the hand worth two in the bush? A group of 30 bird banders set out to tackle this question in the IV Bird Banding and Molt Analysis Course (BBMA). The course took place from July 26 to August 1, at the Camp 41 of the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project (BDFFP), on upland primary forest of the central Brazilian Amazon...

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II Hierarchical Modeling Workshop

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II Hierarchical Modeling Workshop

The II Hierarchical Modeling Workshop took place at the Pousada Haras Cambará, in Porto Alegre, February 1-7, 2015. The workshop was co-taught by Marc Kéry (Swiss Ornithological Institute), Juan Manuel Morales (Universidad del Comahue, Argentina), Jérôme Guelát (University of Zurich), Murilo Guimarães (UFRGS) and Gonçalo Ferraz (UFRGS), with the assistance of Thiago Couto (UnB). The 22 attendants came from Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Uruguay...

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III Bird Banding and Molt Analysis Course

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III Bird Banding and Molt Analysis Course

The III BBMA course took place November 16-22 at the Pró-Mata research forest, 150 km from the city of Porto Alegre and on the southern end of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. The initiative was sponsored by the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), with support from the National Audubon Society, the Louisiana Bird Observatory, the Costa Rica Bird Observatories, CORBIDI and ABECO.

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I Hierarchical Modeling Workshop

Forty people gathered in Porto Alegre, Brazil, during March 24-28, to study the theoretical background and some applications of hierarchical models for ecological data. The meeting took the form of a workshop with lectures and computer exercises led by Drs. Marc Kery, from the Swiss Ornithological Institute and Gonçalo Ferraz, from Brazil’s Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), with the support of four teaching assistants...

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I Bird Banding and Molt Analysis Course

Some initiatives work out ok, others exceed all expectations. The Bird-Banding and Molt Analysis course certainly went beyond everything the organizers had hoped for. About two years ago, Jared Wolfe and Gonçalo Ferraz started toying with the idea of organizing a bird-banding course at the BDFFP (Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project, near Manaus, Brazil). The number of banders in the Manaus region...

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