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Scientific investigations with marine mammals in Santa Catarina state started around 1985, as an initiative of the zoologist Alfredo Ximenez. The large number of dolphins, whales, sea lions and fur seal carcasses collected along the coast, together with the observations of these animals in the wild , stimulated a rigorous inventory of fauna and the foundation of an organized scientific collection. On May 4th 1988, the Laboratório de Mamíferos Aquáticos (Laboratory of Aquatic Mammals) was inaugurated at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, with the purpose of collecting and preparing recovered carcasses and recording the biodiversity of aquatic mammals from the beaches of Santa Catarina.
The dependencies of LAMAQ include a necropsy room, a storage room for the scientific collection, bathrooms and a research office. The scientific collection of mammals contains more than 4000 pieces preserved, with more than 400 specimens of aquatic mammals. Dozens of BSc. monographs, MSc. dissertations and PhD thesis have been developed in the Laboratory of Aquatic Mammals, due to its productive work environment, serious scientific training of undergraduate students and internationally recognized reference collection. The staff of the Laboratory is also strongly involved with environmental education and science communication activities, attending students visits and presenting exhibitions, courses and lectures.
Currently, LAMAQ is international reference for research involving aquatic mammals, having being involved in the organization and hosting of two international conferences (VI and VII Meeting of Specialists in Aquatic Mammals from South America). LAMAQ is also currently conducting a monitoring program of the resident bottlenose dolphin population (Tursiops truncatus) in southern coast of Santa Catarina in partnership with the Laboratório de Ecologia e Conservação (Laboratory of Ecology and Conservation)and Laboratório de Zoologia (Laboratory of Zoology) of the Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina (UDESC).