Estuaries are important feeding and resting sites for mixed flocks of coastal waders and seabirds, as well as migrant species from the northern hemisphere, such as sandpipers and plovers. The State of São Paulo has 600 km of coastline, with significant estuarine areas, however there is little information on its importance to birds, especially in areas with intense anthropogenic pressure, such as Araçá Bay in the city of São Sebastião. In the thematic project BIOTA-FAPESP/Baía of Araçá, this proposal aims at filling this gap in knowledge about this place, as the eminence of expansion of the São Sebastião Port, which threatens the existence of the Araçá Bay. We will test the hypothesis that tidal regimes, seasonality and rainfall influence the richness, abundance, distribution and habitat use by birds in the Araçá Bay and also test the hypothesis that the most abundant birds species will segregate in their trophic niche due to morphological differences. Thus, our objectives are: I. To evaluate the composition and seasonal abundance of costal wader and seabird species through censuses conducted monthly over one year; II. To estimate the total biomass of birds that use this area through censuses and mass estimates; III. To record the habitat use and spatial distribution of birds in the bay; and IV. To analyze trophic niche overlap among the most abundant bird species using stable isotopes analysis (SIA) V. to investigate trophic relationships of the abundant bird species with potential prey, through SIA of carbon and nitrogen. Moreover, in order to contribute to disseminate the results of this research, we intend: VI. to prepare a book / guide on the birds, and other main species of Araçá Bay to be used as an environmental education tool in schools and regional communities. Studies on coastal waders and seabirds may also enlighten mitigation measures counter the impacts of future enlargement of local São Sebastião Port, as well as contribute to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem modeling.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: