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 worlds 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 WORLDS MOST PRIMITIVE MARSUPIAL
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 worlds 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.