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I am a biologist, MSc and PhD in Zoology at Universidade Federal do Paraná. My research interests include ecology, natural history and conservation of cetaceans. Recently, my focus is to use statistical models that describes population dynamics and parameters of animals to study ecological problems such as climate change and human impacts.


lwedekin *at* yahoo.com.br

Research Project:

Demographic models and applications: population dynamics of the humpback whale and its response to climate change


Human population growth affects the population dynamics of wild populations through habitat loss, direct catches and climate change. A key to understand this problem is the use of dynamic models that link mechanistically the demography of species to environmental change caused by men. The humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) was almost extinct by the commercial whaling, and after the exploration ceased their populations are recovering. However, its main prey, the krill (Euphasia superba), depends on the Antarctic sea ice to develop and recruit, and forecasts predict a decline in the sea ice extent and duration during the winter for the next decades. This project focuses on two main ecological problems: (a) studying regulatory processes of population growth; and (b) understanding how climatic variables affect population dynamics. Two long term data-sets collected in the humpback whales breeding ground of Brazil will be used to address these issues: (1) research cruises with photo-identification of animals (1989-2011); and (2) aerial censuses along line transects (2001-2011). The climatic conditions of Antarctic will be obtained through available international data-sets (e.g., sea ice extent, air and water temperature, chlorophyll). The vital rates of the humpback whale (e.g., survival, breeding interval) will be modeled as functions of climatic variables, using probabilistic models that take into account imperfect detection of animals. From the description of this ecological system, we aim to make population projections to forecast the effects of climate change on the population dynamics of the humpback whale.

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