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Conservation of Marine and Coastal Vertebrates Laboratory (CMCV)

Overview:

The CMCV Lab is focused on understanding the impacts of human activities on cetaceans, seabirds and marine turtles mainly in Continental Portugal and on shorebirds (or waders) across the East Atlantic Flyway. To detect changes in marine animal parameters it is essential to establish baseline data from which change can be evaluated. The improvement of the stranding network, shorebird monitoring schemes, the Marine Animal Tissue Bank and the rehabilitation facilities at ECOMARE, allow for a in depth analysis of the human-marine animal interface. Emerging diseases related to anthropogenic sources, are being increasingly recorded in marine animals. As a whole, long-term research on these top predators produces data on prey abundance, habitat quality, disease/parasite prevalence, pollutants or other contemporary ecosystem threats such as marine biotoxins and litter. Currently, one of the major concerns of the CMCV lab is the relation of pathologies and contaminants of concern in the marine environment and the need for new monitoring and assessment strategies, such as the use of molecular biomarkers. As one of the most important aspects of assessing marine megafauna populations, the CMCV Lab monitors abundance and distribution of several cetacean, seabird and shorebird species through different census and modeling methodologies. Several sea turtle parameters are being monitored by strandings and loggerhead turtle displacements are being monitored with satellite tracking. Migratory shorebirds and their connectivity between breeding locations in the artic and non-breading areas in the temperate and tropical zones are being tracked with geolocators, PTT and GPS/GSM devices. As a whole, these data contributes to several European directives’ reporting requirements, allowing for cooperation between academic and resource management institutions, as well as other "Ocean Users". The CMCV Lab monitoring programs allow for adaptive management by contributing to mitigating the impacts of relevant economic activities such as fishing, energy and resource exploitation. Collaborative work with fisheries aiming at the development and application of adaptive measures to reduce bycatch is on-going.

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