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 Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

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: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>