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For nearly 30 years, full of challenges and achievements, AQUASIS - Association for Research and Preservation of Aquatic Ecosystems has produced conservation results and inspired society in preserving fauna that is threatened by extinction in northeastern Brazil, particularly biodiversity in the state of Ceará.

The idea of AQUASIS was begun on April 7, 1992 by a group of students from the FederalUniversity of Ceará (UFC - Universidade Federal do Ceará) and State University of Ceará (UECE - Universidade Estadual do Ceará), with the goal of not only putting into practice the knowledge and skills acquired in academia, but also their perceptions at the time that marine species in particular were in need of help from conservationists. This union of young people with a desire to make a difference laid the foundations for what has steadily materialized as one of the most highly respected conservation institutions in Brazil.


Today, AQUASIS work is dedicated to three main conservation action groups: the Marine Mammals Program (PMM - Programa de Mamíferos Marinhos), the Birds Program (PAVES - Programa de Aves) and the Environmental Education Nucleus (NEA - Núcleo de Educação Ambiental).


Linha do tempo


Foundation of AQUASIS (Association for Research and Preservation of Aquatic Ecosystems)

First institutional activities are begun at the Marine Science Laboratory (LABOMAR - Laboratório de Ciências do Mar), following the creation of a cetacean study group (GECC) in 1992 by students and professors from the Federal University of Ceará (UFC - Universidade Federal do Ceará) and State University of Ceará (UECE - Universidade Estadual do Ceará).


Sesc Iparana

AQUASIS partners with Social Service Commerce of Brazil (SESC - Serviço Social do Comércio do Brasil), transfering the headquarters for its institutional activities from LABOMAR to SESC/Iparana and establishing the first quarantine structure for West Indian Manatee calves rescued from beach stranding occurrences.


Nature's Brigade

Initiation of activities with children and adolescents living in vulnerable social situations in Iparana, Caucaia.


Araripe Manakin

Establishment of conservation efforts to protect the Araripe Manakin in the Cariri region. At the time, the species was listed by the IUCN as Critically Endangered.


Migratory birds

Beginning of projects focused on the conservation of migratory shorebirds, following AQUASIS discovery of an overwintering population of the highly threatened Red Knot species in Ceará.


Grey-breasted Parakeet Project

Founding of the Grey-breasted Parakeet conservation project, having already adopted it as aflagship species in 2003 after surveying the remaining areas of possible occurrence in the states of
Ceará and Pernambuco.


Manatee Project

Establishment of the Manatee Project, with sponsorship from the Petrobras Environmental Program and execution of the first phase of the Project from 2010 to 2012, resulting in the construction of AQUASIS Marine Mammal Rehabilitation Center (CRMM - Centro de Reabilitação de Mamíferos Marinhos), a proper facility dedicated to rehabilitating manatee calves.


Manatee II and III

Sponsorship from the Petrobras Socio-environmental Program, supporting phase II of the Manatee Project from 2013-2015 and the beginning of phase III in 2017, with activities executed from 2018 to 2020.


Araripe Oasis Reserve

Foundation of the Araripe Oasis Reserve RPPN, a specific category of private environmental reserves in Brazil, designed to protect the Araripe Manakin and recover riparian forest habitats in the region of Crato in the interior of Ceará.


Migratory Birds of Northeast Brazil Project

Beginning of AQUASIS Projeto Aves Migratórias do Nordeste (PAMN) with sponsorship from the Petrobras Socio-environmental Program (Programa Petrobras Socioambiental), the project proposal having been selected in first place of the public selection.


Icapuí Support Base

Establishment of AQUASIS Support Base in Icapuí/CE and construction of an acclimatization enclosure (Cativeiro de Aclimatação) at Peroba beach to execute the last phases of rehabilitation and adaptation of rescued manatees before being returned to their natural environment.


First Manatee Translocation

Realization of the first translocation of manatees (Alva and Maceió) from AQUASIS rehabilitation center (CRMM) in Caucaia/CE to the acclimatization enclosure (Cativeiro de Aclimatação) at Peroba beach in Icapuí/CE.


First Manatee Release

Release of the first rehabilitated manatees in Ceará to their natural environment in May/2021.



  • 1998
    “Mother Nature” Award / Prêmio “Mãe Natureza” (City councils of Barroquinha and Chaval, Brazil);

  • 2004
    Conservation Leadership Award (International award for biodiversity conservation projects
    managed by BirdLife International, Fauna&Flora, Conservation International and the Wildlife
    Conservation Society ( – (United States and United

  • 2007
    Conservation Leadership Award (United States and United Kingdom);

  • 2008
    Species Guardian of the Araripe Manakin (BirdLife International);

  • 2010
    Conservation Leadership Award (United States and United Kingdom);

  • 2010
    Future for Nature Award (Netherlands);

  • 2012
    Species Guardian of the Araripe Manakin (BirdLife International);

  • 2014
    Recognition for "Public Utility"; by the municipalities of Caucaia and Fortaleza, and by the Ceará
    State Legislative Assembly;

  • 2017
    National Biodiversity Award - Ministry of the Environment of Brazil.


We have a large network of partners who collaborate in the development of diverse actions important for the conservation of biodiversity in the Northeast region of Brazil, some of whom have been with us since the beginning of our institution's history.

Become a part of our history too!

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