Biota-FAPESP Education VIII

Biota-FAPESP addresses marine and coastal environments

The second to last meeting of the Biota-FAPESP Conference Cycle addressed marine and coastal environments: areas composed of beaches, rocky intertidal zones, dunes and cliffs extended over a coastal strip of about 4,5 million square kilometers (km²), from Cape Orange, in Amapá State, to the unassuming Chuí Creek, on the Southern tip of Rio Grande do Sul.

Little known, these environments harbor a great diversity of species. It is estimated that 2,2 million marine species exist, from which only 9% have been described. “This means that we ignore more than 90% of our coastal environments’ biodiversity”, said USP’s biologist Mariana Cabral de Oliveira, one of the invited speakers.

At the same time, the high extinction rates induced by human activities, such as overfishing, pollution and urbanization, have contributed to hamper identification of marine species. Studies estimate that the current international scientific community would need approximately 360 years and US$ 263 millions just to identify these species.

To know more about the potential of this underwater universe, composed of extremely rich and complex ecosystems, watch the video with excerpts of the talks, which also featured biologist Maria de los Angeles Gasalla and chemist Roberto Berlinck, both from USP.

Read also the report on the conferentes: Secrets of the ocean blue