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Whales, dolphins or fishes? The ethnotaxonomy of cetaceans in São Sebastião, Brazil.

Souza SP, Begossi A - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2007)

Bottom Line: Our results indicated that most fishers classified cetaceans as belonging to the life-form 'fish'.The most salient species, therefore well recognized and named, were those most often caught by gillnets, in addition to the biggest ones and those most exposed by media, through TV programs, which were watched and mentioned by fishers.Our results showed that fishers' ecological knowledge could be a valuable contribution to cetaceans' conservation, helping to determine areas and periods for their protection, indicating priority topics for research and participating in alternative management related to the gillnet fisheries.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia, IB, UNICAMP, CP6109, Campinas, SP, 13,083-970, Brazil. shirleypacheco@yahoo.com

ABSTRACT
The local knowledge of human populations about the natural world has been addressed through ethnobiological studies, especially concerning resources uses and their management. Several criteria, such as morphology, ecology, behavior, utility and salience, have been used by local communities to classify plants and animals. Studies regarding fishers' knowledge on cetaceans in the world, especially in Brazil, began in the last decade. Our objective is to investigate the folk classification by fishers concerning cetaceans, and the contribution of fishers' local knowledge to the conservation of that group. In particular, we aim to record fishers' knowledge in relation to cetaceans, with emphasis on folk taxonomy. The studied area is São Sebastião, located in the southeastern coast of Brazil, where 70 fishers from 14 communities were selected according to their fishing experience and interviewed through questionnaires about classification, nomenclature and ecological aspects of local cetaceans' species. Our results indicated that most fishers classified cetaceans as belonging to the life-form 'fish'. Fishers' citations for the nomenclature of the 11 biological species (10 biological genera), resulted in 14 folk species (3 generic names). Fishers' taxonomy was influenced mostly by the phenotypic and cultural salience of the studied cetaceans. Cultural transmission, vertical and horizontal, was intimately linked to fishers' classification process. The most salient species, therefore well recognized and named, were those most often caught by gillnets, in addition to the biggest ones and those most exposed by media, through TV programs, which were watched and mentioned by fishers. Our results showed that fishers' ecological knowledge could be a valuable contribution to cetaceans' conservation, helping to determine areas and periods for their protection, indicating priority topics for research and participating in alternative management related to the gillnet fisheries.

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Cetaceans' classification, according to fishers from São Sebastião, Brazil. Blue circles correspond to biological species, red circles/ellipses are folk species and black ellipses correspond to generic rank.
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Figure 4: Cetaceans' classification, according to fishers from São Sebastião, Brazil. Blue circles correspond to biological species, red circles/ellipses are folk species and black ellipses correspond to generic rank.

Mentions: From fishers' answers related to nomenclature we obtained 3 generic names and 14 folk species, 9 of them corresponding to binomials (Figure 4). Most of these binomials were composed by a describer related to the animal's coloration pattern (Table 2). We also verified two types of correspondence between scientific and folk systems of classification (Table 2). The first was 'Over-differentiation type I', when two or more folk taxa refer to a single biological species, as in the case of the folk species 'jibarte' and 'jubarte' referring to Megaptera novaeangliae, 'orca' and 'baleia orca' referring to Orcinus orca and 'boto-rajado', 'boto-malhado' and 'golfinho-malhado' referring to Stenella frontalis and its spotted coloration pattern (Figure 5). The second type of correspondence was 'Under-differentiation type II', when a single folk genera refers to two or more species of two or more genera, as in the case of 'baleia', quoted for 3 species of whale (order Mysticeti) and for O. orca (order Odontoceti), 'baleia-branca' mentioned to B. edeni and for O. orca, 'boto' quoted for 7 species of dolphins (order Odontoceti), 'golfinho' mentioned for 6 species of dolphins, and folk species 'toninha' cited for 3 species of dolphins and 'boto-caldeirão' quoted for 2 species of dolphin.


Whales, dolphins or fishes? The ethnotaxonomy of cetaceans in São Sebastião, Brazil.

Souza SP, Begossi A - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2007)

Cetaceans' classification, according to fishers from São Sebastião, Brazil. Blue circles correspond to biological species, red circles/ellipses are folk species and black ellipses correspond to generic rank.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC1804260&req=5

Figure 4: Cetaceans' classification, according to fishers from São Sebastião, Brazil. Blue circles correspond to biological species, red circles/ellipses are folk species and black ellipses correspond to generic rank.
Mentions: From fishers' answers related to nomenclature we obtained 3 generic names and 14 folk species, 9 of them corresponding to binomials (Figure 4). Most of these binomials were composed by a describer related to the animal's coloration pattern (Table 2). We also verified two types of correspondence between scientific and folk systems of classification (Table 2). The first was 'Over-differentiation type I', when two or more folk taxa refer to a single biological species, as in the case of the folk species 'jibarte' and 'jubarte' referring to Megaptera novaeangliae, 'orca' and 'baleia orca' referring to Orcinus orca and 'boto-rajado', 'boto-malhado' and 'golfinho-malhado' referring to Stenella frontalis and its spotted coloration pattern (Figure 5). The second type of correspondence was 'Under-differentiation type II', when a single folk genera refers to two or more species of two or more genera, as in the case of 'baleia', quoted for 3 species of whale (order Mysticeti) and for O. orca (order Odontoceti), 'baleia-branca' mentioned to B. edeni and for O. orca, 'boto' quoted for 7 species of dolphins (order Odontoceti), 'golfinho' mentioned for 6 species of dolphins, and folk species 'toninha' cited for 3 species of dolphins and 'boto-caldeirão' quoted for 2 species of dolphin.

Bottom Line: Our results indicated that most fishers classified cetaceans as belonging to the life-form 'fish'.The most salient species, therefore well recognized and named, were those most often caught by gillnets, in addition to the biggest ones and those most exposed by media, through TV programs, which were watched and mentioned by fishers.Our results showed that fishers' ecological knowledge could be a valuable contribution to cetaceans' conservation, helping to determine areas and periods for their protection, indicating priority topics for research and participating in alternative management related to the gillnet fisheries.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia, IB, UNICAMP, CP6109, Campinas, SP, 13,083-970, Brazil. shirleypacheco@yahoo.com

ABSTRACT
The local knowledge of human populations about the natural world has been addressed through ethnobiological studies, especially concerning resources uses and their management. Several criteria, such as morphology, ecology, behavior, utility and salience, have been used by local communities to classify plants and animals. Studies regarding fishers' knowledge on cetaceans in the world, especially in Brazil, began in the last decade. Our objective is to investigate the folk classification by fishers concerning cetaceans, and the contribution of fishers' local knowledge to the conservation of that group. In particular, we aim to record fishers' knowledge in relation to cetaceans, with emphasis on folk taxonomy. The studied area is São Sebastião, located in the southeastern coast of Brazil, where 70 fishers from 14 communities were selected according to their fishing experience and interviewed through questionnaires about classification, nomenclature and ecological aspects of local cetaceans' species. Our results indicated that most fishers classified cetaceans as belonging to the life-form 'fish'. Fishers' citations for the nomenclature of the 11 biological species (10 biological genera), resulted in 14 folk species (3 generic names). Fishers' taxonomy was influenced mostly by the phenotypic and cultural salience of the studied cetaceans. Cultural transmission, vertical and horizontal, was intimately linked to fishers' classification process. The most salient species, therefore well recognized and named, were those most often caught by gillnets, in addition to the biggest ones and those most exposed by media, through TV programs, which were watched and mentioned by fishers. Our results showed that fishers' ecological knowledge could be a valuable contribution to cetaceans' conservation, helping to determine areas and periods for their protection, indicating priority topics for research and participating in alternative management related to the gillnet fisheries.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus