We believe in research as an indispensable factor for development, following the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

Our studies in the Amazon region have the mission of contributing to environmental challenges, generating knowledge for society. To understand this biodiversity as rich as it is unknown, we carry out innovative research, such as the one that identified more than 800 genetic references of fauna and reproduced critical species of flora from the reed beds and cavities in the Amazon region. This is how, every day, we expand both the knowledge and the business frontier sustainably.

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Fotografia de 4 aves amarelas em cima de um tronco sem folhas. Ao fundo, há árvores e um céu azul.

Photo: Ricardo Teles, 2020

Under the Amazoomics project, we have produced high-quality genomes for 29 endangered species of Brazilian fauna. Genomic information is currently a substantial knowledge base for understanding physiology and genetics. The data is also crucial for studies on the evolution of species. The project’s first stage will be partnered with the Vale Zoo and Botanical Park, home to several fauna species. This is currently the largest project of genomic studies of biodiversity underway in the country. It has the collaboration of researchers and entities that work in the conservation of endangered species.

Environmental geochemistry studies – Itacaiúnas River Basin (P.A.) and São Marcos Bay (M.A.)

Dois homens em um barco num rio. Ambos estão de costas para foto e usam colete e chapéu. Ao fundo, há uma vasta vegetação.

Photo: Clarté, 2021

ITV’s environmental geochemistry studies evaluate the possible contamination of waters and sediments to establish risk management and environmental safety plans and estimate the geochemical background and baseline in sediments and waters of the studied areas. The research takes place in the São Marcos Bay (M.A.), where the Ponta da Madeira Maritime Terminal is located, a leading shipper of mineral cargo in Brazil; and in the Itacaiúnas River Basin (P.A.), which has shown an accelerated expansion in human settlement and economic activity in recent decades. The studies will provide a reliable record of current geochemical reality. In the future, such data will serve as a reference for a careful environmental assessment by the port operating company and environmental agencies.

Biodiversity 4.0

Fotografia de uma plantação com duas flores vermelhas. Há um beija-flor em uma delas.

Photo: Elena Babiitchouk, 2017

Sustainable biodiversity management, coupled with best practice operational initiatives, is essential to the health of ecosystems and associated ecosystem services in areas that integrate natural landscapes and mining. In this project, we analyze the historical knowledge concerning the Carajás Mountains and compare it with international initiatives under three aspects: establishing data and metadata for a biodiversity bank, defining efficient monitoring protocols, and gathering new information to study local biodiversity. The project includes morphological and genetic data on pollinators and ecological and genetic data on vulnerable, rare, and endangered plants. The goal is to achieve a better understanding of the Carajás biodiversity and its conservation from the point of view of sustainability.

Bioeconomics of Jaborandi

Fotografia de duas mãos segurando folhas verdes e uma tesoura.

Photo: Clarté, 2021

In this research, we seek to identify and understand the species of Jaborandi with the highest content of pilocarpine, a substance used in the treatment of glaucoma and to treat dry mouth. Through genome mapping and the selection of matrices for reproduction, we gathered information to determine the best way of harvesting the leaves. We also seek to map new areas of natural occurrence that can be managed orderly and investigate environmental conditions that favor its growth. Threatened by deforestation and uncontrolled exploitation, Jaborandi is restricted to the states of Pará, Maranhão, and Piauí and represents an important source of income for the local population. Studies with Jaborandi help increase the value of non-timber forest products while maintaining the forest as it stands and promoting Amazon’s bio-economy.

Biodiversity in cavities

Fotografia da silhueta de dois homens com capacete em um lugar com diversas árvores.

Photo: Luciana Moreira, 2019

The Carajás cavities are home to rich ecosystems that are still little known. The projects investigate the biodiversity of the region’s ferruginous underground ecosystems and the factors that influence their distribution and maintenance. In this way, we combine technological innovations, such as applying state-of-the-art genomic tools and molecular biology, with robust analyses of databases developed over a decade. Our approaches include studies of landscape ecology, environmental DNA, population genetics, telemetry, and bioacoustics, to provide subsidies for the management, conservation, and creation of protocols that improve the handling of biodiversity.

Covid-19 sequencing network

Homem segurando um tubo de ensaio com um líquido dentro. Ele usa jaleco, máscara, luvas e óculos e está em laboratório.

Photo: Marcelo Lelis, 2020

In partnership with the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation and several laboratories in all country regions, this project provides the sequencing of genomes of the virus that causes Covid-19. We developed a computational genomic data analysis system, which was shared with the scientific community. Data is made available to the Ministry of Health to help monitor virus variations and pandemic control and the community in Open Data format.

Development of the mining area

Fotografia de favo de mel com diversas abelhas em cima dele.

Photo: Ricardo Teles, 2020

By combining scientific knowledge and experience in data collection and analysis, we have helped Vale meet its 2030 sustainability targets, particularly socioeconomic actions. This project provides an understanding of the territories where the company operates, which effectively contributes to decision-making related to the planning, execution, and evaluation of Vale’s social and environmental projects in territorial development.

Environmental studies of São Marcos Bay

Fotografia da baía de São Marcos, rodeada de árvores. Ao fundo, há um homem lançando uma rede de pesca à baía.

Photo: Eduardo Pereira Lima, 2011

São Marcos Bay, which houses the Ponta da Madeira Maritime Terminal in São Luís (M.A.), is an important object of our research. The enterprise is a leader in ore cargo handling in Brazil, which justifies the importance of knowing the hydrodynamic and sedimentary behavior of the region. This enables us to gather the information that will allow us to reduce potential environmental impacts from oil and ore spill accidents and possible socio-environmental damage caused by port activities.

Genomics for biodiversity studies and monitoring

Duas onças pintadas grandes correndo em um rio.

Photo: Clarté, 2021

Knowledge of the genetic information of organisms is essential to enable the complete characterization of biodiversity, especially to understand the biology of species and implement targeted and effective conservation measures. Thus, the project has considerably expanded the volume of genomic data on biodiversity, focusing on the flora of Serra dos Carajás. With more than 8000 plant genetic references produced over six years, the project’s results have been important for the conservation of genetic resources of endangered species in the Amazon region. Several protocols and procedures for monitoring biodiversity have been developed in a fast, robust, and cost-effective way by applying state-of-the-art molecular biology tools based on metagenomics and metaproteomics analyses.

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