ECO-ETHOLOGY RESEARCH UNIT
UNIDADE DE INVESTIGAÇÃO EM ECO-ETOLOGIA
This research Unit operates in the marine sciences and is a small group of 22 PhD researchers and a total of 54 members. It grew from an initial core of researchers that were dedicated to the study of fish behaviour, especially in littoral fish, in 1994.
The study of behaviour led the team to enlarge its activities into distinct directions - The study of behaviour of littoral fish led to the identification of many gaps on fundamental information on the biology of inshore fish in Portugal, which lead the team to extend its activities to the study of fish ecology, larval biology, monitoring and conservation, biogeography, phylogeny, phylogeography and evolution; estuarine and freshwater fish were also integrated in our area of research. A great emphasis has been placed on monitoring fish communities and in collecting base line data on the temporal dynamics on fish assemblages, as it was felt that this information is crucial to investigate problems associated with global warming and to delineate strategies of conservation of aquatic organisms and habitats. In this respect, the study of fish was also integrated with other aquatic organisms, namely marine mammals and marine birds.
The second line of development that also stemmed from the study of behaviour led to an integrative approach, with particular emphasis on the interrelationships between behavioural and physiological processes, in particular with studies in behaviour endocrinology of vertebrates.
The Unit is led by a coordinator (Emanuel Gonçalves) and is divided in two research lines – Biology and Conservation of Aquatic Organisms, led by Emanuel Gonçalves, with 15 PhDs, and Integrative Behavioural Biology, led by Rui Oliveira, with 7 PhDs. The two research lines correspond to the lines of development outlined above. The scientific activity of the Unit as a hole is oriented by the Unit leader and its PhD members plus an external advisory board, mainly composed of foreign researchers. Administrative activities are provided by the hosting Institution that also supports the work of a biologist secretary for the Unit.
After the approval by FCT and Ministry of Education and Science of the integration of this research unit in the CIMAR Associated Laboratory (LA 50015) (09/11/2011), we are working closely with the other CIMAR leaders to conclude all procedures for a rapid integration.
Professor, researcher and former coordinator of the Research Unit Dr. Vítor Alamada sadly passed away in 2013 (obituary).