Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


The BBVA Foundation commits 2.4 million euros to research in Ecology and Conservation Biology

The BBVA Foundation approves funding for 12 major research projects in Ecology and Conservation Biology, with a total allocation of 2.4 million euros.

Among the projects selected in the 4th BBVA Foundation Call for Research Proposals we can single out a scientific study into the impact of climate change on populations of shorebirds (birds living mainly in coastal or wetland areas on marshes, mudflats or beaches). Many shorebird species migrate long distances and can cover thousand of kilometers in each annual cycle between their breeding and their wintering areas. This makes them highly vulnerable to changing climatic conditions in different zones: with 48% of the world’s known populations suffering decline. And there are reasons to fear that the trend will accelerate, with most climate change analysts auguring a rise in sea level in the shorebirds’ habitats that will send populations into continuous decline until the end of the 21st century.

The goal of this research project is to analyze the quality of some of the main coastal ecosystems in South America and identify the short- and medium-term effects of climate change and other potential threats facing these species and their habitats. The team conducting the research includes scientists from Spain, Argentina and Chile.


The BBVA Foundation Research Grants Program in Ecology and Conservation Biology will also be lending its support to a two-year study into the conservation status of the world’s oldest known marsupial species, the “monito del monte” (literally little mountain monkey) inhabiting the temperate forests of Southern Chile. The fact the species has survived thus far owes to the exceptional combination of ecological and evolutionary circumstances that characterize these forests, which have conserved their ancestral botanical and ecological legacy through major climate changes and tectonic shifts.


It has recently been shown that birds living in urban environments and exposed to high levels of acoustic pollution alter the tone and length of their calls so they can overcome background noise and communicate effectively. This adaptation has been found in several species of European birds, whose songs are varied in pattern and learned by imitation.

The goals of the study on the “Vulnerability to noise pollution of neotropical avifauna” are to analyze how acoustic pollution is affecting a large group of topical species – the suboscines – who are less able to adapt to high noise levels because their songs are innate rather than acquired. This limitation could impair the biological adaptation of these birds – making up 30% of all neotropical avifauna – in areas and centers exposed to noise pollution.


The last few decades have witnessed a growing concern about the environmental problems associated with mercury. Its long residence time and long-range atmospheric transport mean the element inevitably finds its way into food chains, and thus becomes a global threat to health and the environment.

The BBVA Foundation will fund a project whose aim is to design an integral method for assessing the environmental impact of mercury in biodiversity hotspots. As such, study areas have been selected for their high ecological value and potential exposure to mercury contamination, among them the Mato Grosso Pantanal in Brazil, declared a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site. The project will also be looking at possible strategies for remedying mercury pollution in zones where its levels exceed the limits laid down by governments and environmental agencies. The priority of this remedial effort will be to eliminate the risk to exposed populations, with an evaluation of the associated economic cost.


The selected projects include a study on marine conservation and management and another on the conservation of cyprinids – a family of freshwater fish – in arid and semiarid zones of the Iberian Peninsula and North America. Others have flora as their subject matter, among them a study into the interactions between plants and the functioning of extreme ecosystems exposed to global change; a research project exploring the relations between indigenous rural populations and rainforest conservation; and a study into the ecological causes and genetic processes of plant invasions.

Javier Fernández | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>