Plenary Session I — Dr. Mauro Galetti

Talk: Defaunation in the Anthropocene and the ecological effects of losing large mammals in tropical rainforests

We are living in a new geologic era in which humans are modifying the distributions of species as well as their ecologies and evolution at an unprecedented rate. Tropical rainforests hold the largest diversity of mammals, yet we lack a comprehensive information about their impacts on rainforest ecosystems. This talk is based on a series of natural history observations, combined with results from a long-term field experiment, aimed at understanding the myriad consequences of defaunation of large mammals on the ecology and ultimately on ecosystem function of tropical rainforests.

Dr. Mauro Galetti received his PhD from the Cambridge University and joined São Paulo State University in Brazil in 1998. His research seeks to answer how species or population losses affect key ecological processes such as predation, herbivory, mutualism and competition. Dr. Galetti studies these issues in tropical ecosystems in Brazil, using approaches ranging from field observations to experiments involving stable isotopes and molecular genetic tools. He oversees one of the longest-running large-scale experiments on defaunation in Neotropical forests, through which he is evaluating the consequences of the extinction of large mammals on different groups (rodents, fungi, plants), including how these changes erode carbon storage in tropical forests. He has worked in several tropical ecosystems in Brazil (Atlantic forest, Cerrado, Pantanal, Amazon) and elsewhere in the world (Borneo). He is also the curator of the largest dataset on tropical biodiversity for a single biome: the Atlantic forest Initiative. Dr. Galetti has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles. His work has been cited more than 20,000 times and he is considered among the top 1% of the most influential scientists working in environmental science.