The Site of the Brazilian southernmost coast
Isolated by sea and lagoons, exists a coast of wild beauty in southern Brazil. Where land, sea and sky meet sand, waves and winds designed a vast landscape of beaches, dunes and marshes that extend all the way down to Uruguay. Since early reports by the German naturalist Hermann von Ihering in the late 19th century, our knowledge of this coastline has continuously grown and has aggregated precious ecological information.
Sandy beaches and dunes protect the coast against violent waves and storms but are also habitat for an extraordinary diversity of animals and plants, some rare and in danger of extinction. Deserted beaches and vast dune fields hide the immense Patos and Mirim Lagoons. Much of southern Brazilian and Uruguayan rainfall drains into the lagoons and passes through a narrow inlet at the southern reaches of the Patos Lagoon into the Atlantic Ocean. Here, the encounter of fresh and salt water form an estuary that is paramount for the development of many coastal and marine species.
Since the arrival of the first settlers, Brazil's southernmost coastal sea has been an example of biological diversity and abundance. The exploitation of these resources without harming their integrity can only be assured when a significant part of the population acquires the appropriate ecological knowledge.
We hope our Site might help students, environmental managers and scientists in their search of information on coastal Latin America and, especially, encourage interest in the ecology of the coastline that unfolds in southern Brazil.