5. Ferramentas e métodos para conservação e o manejo – Temas
Fernanda Martins-Hatano, Donald Gettinger
THE IMPORTANCE OF COLLECTING PARASITES TOGETHER WITH HOST VOUCHER SPECIMENS IN MAMMAL INVENTORIES
The mammalian fauna of Amazonia remains poorly known, with strong inventories from a very few, widely separated localities. This is especially true for bats, marsupials, and rodents. Identification of mammals in the field is difficult, and obtaining the necessary permits to collect specimens from the local and national authorities is a critical step in carrying out a successful research program. With the proper permits and complete compliance with all wildlife laws, our studies can make a contribution to both academic and regulatory entities. However, it is recognized today that without a strong series of mammalian voucher specimens, faunal inventories lack scientific value and credibility. In a book describing standard faunal survey and inventory methods, it is recommended that mammalogisties collect a sample of 20 adult individuals (10 males, 10 females) for purposes of identification, and up to 25 males and 25 females for polymorphic species and those species that are poorly known taxonomically (see Measuring and Monitoring Biological Diversity: Standard Methods for Mammals, edited by Don E. Wilson, et al, 1996, Smithsonian Institution Press). Properly prepared voucher specimens are the sole means of verifying the data documented in your research, or in your scientific articles, and without them, historical comparisons are not possible. Modern methodologies in biodiversity research emphasize the collecting of a complete specimen. The researcher should attempt to maximize the amount of information gained by the sacrifice of an animal by spending the time and effort to collect a wide range of accessory data, including chromosomes, tissues for molecular studies, stomach contents, and both endoparasites and ectoparasites. All of these accessory collections are cross-referenced with each voucher mammal (usually a skin and skeleton), and can create opportunities for collaboration with researchers specialized in other areas of biology. In our research in the Floresta Nacional de Carajas, Para, Brazil, we are applying a wide variety of methods for surveying and monitoring the mammal fauna. Also, we are equipping our laboratory, and training our students for the collection of a series of voucher specimens, including a strong emphasis on parasites. We believe that parasites are important for understanding the ecology and evolution of mammals. Parasitological studies are critical in Amazonia, with rapid development of the forest, and the influx of human populations. Both endoparasites and ectoparasites, (as potential vectors) are important in increasing our knowledge about the epidemiology of zoonotic disease, and the general health of man.