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UFRJ

Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Country: Brazil
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49 Projects, page 1 of 10
  • Funder: NSF Project Code: 9530140
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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/N000889/1
    Funder Contribution: 23,821 GBP

    Most fish species undertake movement patterns during their life cycle and defining these ontogenetic movements (i.e. where they go and at what life stage) and determining connectivity (i.e. the extent to which they intermix) are key to understanding their ecology for both conservation and exploitation management purposes. This is especially important for commercially-exploited species as this can allow provision of (1) protected areas for key life stages (e.g. nursery, feeding or spawning areas) and (2) local food security and continuity of employment in the local community. Movement patterns can be reconstructed using tag-recapture and radio-tracking of individually-tagged fish but these methodologies are labour-intensive, logistically difficult to implement and/or costly. In addition, their application to small fish can be limited. Recently, based on the observed spatial differences in water chemistry, the trace element chemistry of calcareous structures such as otoliths (calcified "ear stones") has been used to understand movement patterns of fishes among these locations. The advantage of this technique is that it is not size-restricted and each fish already carries its own internal tag. Aquatic systems have been considered ideal final sinks for persistent and bioaccumulative toxicants (PBTs), such as metals and organohalogen compounds. Due to some features that include chemical stability and affinity for proteins or lipids, some PBTs are efficiently bioaccumulated and end up undergoing biomagnification (i.e. are concentrated) with increasing trophic level (i.e. as you move up the food chain). Therefore, large high trophic level predators such as fish and aquatic mammals, are critical groups to study and may accumulate high PBT concentrations in their bodies. If eaten by Man in sufficient quantities, the transfer if these PBTs may present a significant health risk In this study, a dual approach to study PBTs in whitemouth croaker (or corvina), Micropogonias furnieri, from Guanabara Bay (Rio de Janeiro) is proposed. Firstly, the elemental concentrations in the otoliths will be studied in order to examine the movement patterns of corvina and, secondly, muscle PBT concentrations will be measured in fish of different ages/sizes caught in different locations of the Bay in order to determine uptake rate and accumulation of PBTs over ontogeny. Guanabara Bay is an urbanized estuary of utmost social and economic importance but also one of the most polluted in Brazil. Despite this, the fish populations of Guanabara Bay support artisanal fisheries (3700 fishers, landings 19000 tonnes, $4.8M annual first sale) and corvina comprises about 20% of the annual catch value. For temperate regions of Brazil, it has been demonstrated that this fish species displays ontogenetic habitat shifts with the adult fish feeding in coastal waters and moving into estuaries to spawn. The juvenile fish reside in estuaries for several years before moving out to coastal waters to recruit into the adult stock. The project will address the following questions: (1) What are the movement patterns of juvenile corvina in Guanabara Bay? (i.e. do juveniles of all ages/sizes mix freely within the Bay or do they show size-specific changes in salinity/habitat preference?) (2) At what age/size do adolescent corvinas move from the estuary into coastal waters? (3) What are the movement patterns of adult fish between brackish and marine water? (4) What are the muscular PBT concentrations of corvina in Guanabara Bay and coastal waters? (5) How do muscular PBT concentrations change with age/size? (i.e. what is the rate of accumulation during the estuarine residency period? and do concentrations reduce in adult fish once they are feeding in cleaner coastal waters?)

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/N002822/1
    Funder Contribution: 60,013 GBP

    There is a large body of literature stressing the importance of transport costs and infrastructure in determining trade flows, and by correlation economic development (Clark, Dollar and Micco (2004), Limao and Venables (2001), Martinez-Zarzoso and Suárez-Burguet (2005)). In conjunction with increased trade liberalisation in Brazil (applied tariff rates in 2012 are 25% of 1989 levels), transport costs become the most prominent non-artificial trade barrier associated with Brazil's growth of exports: It costs twice as much to export a container from Brazil compared to OECD countries and nearly twice as much compared to the average Latin American and Caribbean country. It takes 13 days and 6 documents to export a commodity, two days and two documents more than OECD countries. Of these figures, 3 days are allocated to port and terminal handling amounting to a fixed cost of 500 US Dollars per shipment, twice the amount of Germany's port costs. Similar magnitudes apply for importing procedures (World Bank Doing Business (2014)). As more than 80% of Brazil's exports is carried by sea (Ministry of Industry Development and Foreign Trade (2010)) and port efficiency appears to have the largest impact on trade among all indicators of infrastructure (Nordas and Piermartini (2004)), the necessity of improving port infrastructure and reduce shipping costs is inherently linked to development via export growth. This project will see collaboration between UCL and Universidad Federal do Rio de Janeiro. It intends to quantify the impact of port infrastructure and the cost of shipping on Brazil's exports, proposing responses to ameliorate these costs. Our approach is novel since we are going to combine trade data and information from port authorities with ship's satellite positioning data. This will provide a unique dataset in which we will be able to identify origin and destination of ships, time of each journey, ships' idle time at ports, ship's cargo at port destinations in the USA and the cost of shipping from country of origin to the port of destination in the USA. The project will consist of visits and research exchanges (both UK to Brazil and Brazil to UK) in order to enable sharing of data and resources. This will enable the two research groups to build strong collaborative links and undertake knowledge exchange. This project will deploy the research in a number of stakeholder engagement workshops, attended by representatives from each partner's research groups. The workshops will bring together policy makers, lawyers, shipping operators and other relevant stakeholders to further our understanding of the issues connecting shipping with trade and economic development, and enable us to share the research findings.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: BB/M029271/1
    Funder Contribution: 48,020 GBP

    Miscanthus (grown in the UK) is a perrenial crop containing large amounts of carbon, that we can burn in power stations to produce energy, or digest biologically to produce useful chemicals (e.g. for production of bioplastics). Sugarcane (grown in Brazil) is a very similar crop, bred for its sugar content. Both plants have bacteria called endophytes living in their roots. The plant has a symbiotic relationship with these bacteria; some of the bacteria help the plant fix nitrogen, others may help the plant tolerate drought stress. This project aims to exchange knowledge and expertise on these endophytes including what types of endophytes are present and how they function. In the long term, this could lead to us being able to innoculate plants with specific beneficial bacteria, thereby making them more tolerant to drought, and to increase their growth.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/M011615/2
    Funder Contribution: 55,909 GBP

    This interdisciplinary project explores with youth from income-poor urban settings how they conceptualise sustainable food. It does this through the medium of participatory film. In Rio, the social geography of urban inequality is such that many urban youths grow up in favelas, or informal, income-poor settlements. In London, urban inequality is expressed in other spatial patterns, nevertheless, there boroughs with more income-poor people. Challenges such as reliance on food banks, lack of availability of affordable fresh food, obesity and malnutrition are common in both cities, while at the same time community gardens, community markets, free school meals, campaigns against food deserts etc. exist in both settings. In Brazil, there is also an innovative new policy on regionally appropriate and sustainably sourced school meals. Previous work by the UK-Brazilian project team (ESRC-DFID Choices project) focused on large scale representative surveys and focus groups in Brazil which showed that Brazilians strongly supported sustainable sourcing in public procurement. In each city, the project works with community organisations active in the local area who have been developing digital media or participatory theatre projects with local youths who are often from disadvantaged backgrounds. The aim of the project is to a) to explore with urban youths in receipt of school meals how they conceptualise sustainable food, food justice and urban food sovereignty b) to engage with the youths, the public and policy makers through participatory video, film competitions and public film screenings, thus continuing to build pathways to impact c) to deepen a recent research partnership between two centres of excellence in sustainable consumption at Royal Holloway, University of London and the Universidade do Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). d) to trial participatory methodologies, to compare research practice and prepare future joint research Participatory workshops will be offered Rio and London, which combine the emancipatory pedagogy of Paulo Freire with the new technologies of filming on mobile phone cameras. We will draw on previous findings from the surveys and focus groups and present the results to the 14-18 year old youths for discussion. Then the youths will be invited to participate in a film competition. The winning team from Rio will be invited to a film screening showing the Brazilian and UK films in a London cinema and take part in a panel discussion with policy makers, community activists and local politicians. Equally the team from London will travel to Rio to present and discuss their film there. While there is no predicting what the young film-makers will express in their films, these creative pieces will help initiate discussion wit the public about food justice, sustainable food and urban food sovereignty. Combining an academic, a practice and a policy perspective on the issue, and linking the local level food challenges with an international perspective, the project promises to generate new ways of understanding food futures.

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