Hydro is funding a research on aquatic biodiversity in the municipality of Barcarena (PA). The study, carried out in partnership with the Institute of Biological Sciences (ICB, in Portuguese), of the Federal University of Pará (UFPA), aims to obtain more accurate information on the diversity, abundance, ecophysiology and richness of fish, aquatic insects, plankton, periphyton (biofilm with microorganisms) and macrophytes (aquatic plants) in the region. The research will bring as results bioindicators that can be used by the company and also by the entire community. The studies will last four years and an investment of BRL 2.7 million. This amount includes materials and equipment for the university, as well as scholarships for students.
“Currently, there is little data on the aquatic biodiversity of Barcarena because a research like this has never been carried out in the region. The results of this research, which will be carried out by UFPA, will be public and can be consulted by everyone. This shared learning can help in mobilizations in favor of the Amazon's most precious asset: natural resources. This research is a voluntary initiative of Alunorte and is part of our sustainability strategy”, says Carlos Neves, Director of Operations for Bauxite & Alumina at Hydro.
The study is part of the technical and scientific cooperation agreement that the company signed with the university in 2019. The research will have different lines of action, such as the study and mapping of fish that inhabit the region, the investigation of how plants react to the stimuli of the environment where they live, evaluation of the set of organisms that reside in aquatic environments, as well as algae and study of insects that live at least one stage of their life cycle in rivers and streams, such as dragonflies, bedbugs, beetles, among others . There will be eight professionals involved in the project, including teachers and employees of Hydro, in addition to the students. In all, 18 scholarships will be distributed between master's, doctoral and post-doctoral degrees, plus 10 scientific initiation scholarships. The researchers will collect samples of aquatic organisms and the water from the streams to take to the laboratories and carry out the research analyses.
“The Amazon is recognized worldwide for its great biodiversity, harboring many species and essential ecosystem services. Despite this, there are still many gaps in the real size of existing biodiversity, since many species have not yet been described by science or it has not yet been possible to point out the areas where they occur and what are the factors or conditions that determine their distribution. Therefore, projects like the one that will be carried out with the agreement with Hydro, allow the generation of important data that will contribute to the reduction of these information gaps. Enabling the discussion or planning of more efficient strategies for mitigating environmental impacts or conserving biodiversity. Another very important point to be highlighted is the great contribution to the training of qualified human resources in working with biodiversity, in one of the most needy areas in Brazil, since the scholarships contemplated in the project will allow students to carry out their research and complete their studies”, says professor Leandro Juen, from UFPA, project leader.
About the Hydro and UFPA research agreement
Hydro has already announced several research projects with UFPA, in the areas of residue and tailings use, meteorology and solar energy production. Investment in research is part of Hydro's sustainability strategy. In 2020, the company announced two research projects that are already underway, namely the production of cement and synthetic aggregate, both with residue from the refining of bauxite, which is generated at Alunorte. In 2021, another research was announced, which is studying the feasibility of using the ore tailings from Hydro's bauxite mine, in Paragominas (PA), for the production of tiles, bricks, refractory materials, low carbon cement and even a biodegradable plastic. A research was also announced on the use of solar panels at its bauxite mine in Paragominas (PA). The university will carry out tests with a floating photovoltaic system in the water reservoir of Mineração Paragominas. Hydro and UFPA are also carrying out meteorological studies at the bauxite mine and at Alunorte, which will improve the management of the units' water resources. The company and the university are also carrying out a study to verify the feasibility of using açaí stone as biomass. There are also three other innovation projects in the fight against Covid-19 that are underway: production of low-cost respirators, studies of psychological effects during the pandemic and use of data science to create epidemiological models. As part of the agreement, the company also donated 890 tablets to support remote teaching during the pandemic. Recently, a boat and laboratory materials were also donated to the ICB, through the Ecotoxicology study. In another initiative, Hydro is carrying out a research of the environmental background of the municipalities of Barcarena and Abaetetuba in partnership with UFPA. All projects are part of the technical and scientific cooperation agreement between Hydro and the University, started in 2019, to carry out several lines of research, which make it possible to consolidate the development of the State of Pará.