Garrafão Project: Origin, history and main aspects of the development of the largest long-term study of ecology of small mammals in Brazil




habitat selection, litterfall production, population ecology, population genetics, use of space.


This article introduces the special volume dedicated to one of the longest wildlife monitoring programs ever carried out in Brazil: the long-term study on small mammals developed by the Laboratório de Vertebrados at UFRJ from 1996 to 2019 in Garrafão, Municipality of Guapimirim, RJ. The guiding ideas of this study emerged from a previous project developed at the Restinga de Barra de Maricá, RJ, in the 1980s on the ecology of small mammal populations and communities. The main research objectives were related to community structure, population growth and population dynamics, aiming to understand the ecological processes and the mechanisms explaining the fluctuation of population size in several species over time. Initially, models of genetic population structure and population dynamics were tested. Further developments in the project allowed further aspects to be studied, such as diet and nutritional aspects, population genetics, use of space, habitat, biogeography, taxonomy and systematics. These approaches, based on relevant ecological questions, have provided advances in knowledge in several areas of biology, especially in population ecology. The study resulted in dozens of articles, book chapters, dissertations and theses and was interrupted by conjuncture factors and abrupt changes in the funding policy for the development of scientific research in Brazil.

Author Biography

Rosana Gentile, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz

mammals, parasite ecology, community ecology, population ecology.


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