Since the creation of the Sociedad Latinoamericana de Especialistas en Mamíferos Acuáticos (SOLAMAC) in 1994-1996 there had been discussion about the need for a scientific journal where members of the Society could publish their academic work. However, it was not until 2000 that LAJAM was formally founded following the momentum created by the "IV Workshop for the Coordination of Research and Conservation of Franciscana in the Southwest Atlantic," held in November of that year in Porto Alegre, Brazil. At that workshop Salvatore Siciliano revived the idea of the creation of a journal as an outlet for the publication of the proceedings of the meeting. The journal was to be based in of Rio de Janeiro where Salvatore could oversee its creation and Eduardo Secchi would serve as Guest Editor. Thus, in 2002 the "Special Issue on the Biology and Conservation of Franciscana, including the Report of the Fourth Workshop for the Coordinated Research and Conservation of the Franciscana Dolphin (Pontoporia blainvillei) in the Western South Atlantic" was published as Vol. 1, No. 1.
The publication was well received by SOLAMAC members and it was agreed that Salvatore would become the Managing Editor and that Eduardo would stay on as Editor-in-Chief, with the support of a diverse Editorial Board. The production costs were to be financed by Yaqu Pacha (Germany), with additional support from Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Brazil).
In 2004, at the 5th SOLAMAC Congress in Quito, Ecuador, it was agreed that LAJAM would be jointly published by SOLAMAC and SOMEMMA (Sociedad Mexicana de Mastozoología Marina). At this meeting Nélio Barros became co-Editor-in-Chief and in 2008 he took over as Editor-in-Chief until his death in early 2010. Daniel Palacios has been serving as Editor-in-Chief since then.
In 2011 LAJAM ceased its print version and became an online-only publication, using PKP's Open Journal Systems. To this end, LAJAM acquired an online ISSN (through IBICT, the Instituto Brasileiro de Informação em Ciência e Tecnologia) and a DOI prefix (through CrossRef). As the online journal becomes established in the next two years, LAJAM will seek coverage in indexing services as well as in the Directory of Open Access Journals and in the Science Citation Index, which will provide LAJAM with an Impact Factor.
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The franciscana (Pontoporia blainvillei) is a small dolphin endemic to coastal Atlantic waters of southeastern South America. The species is of particular conservation concern because of its restricted distribution and vulnerability to incidental capture in fishing gear. Our logo is a stylized drawing of franciscana, an emblematic species embodying the conservation issues of many Latin American aquatic mammals. This image graced the cover of the first published issue of LAJAM in 2002, a special on the biology and conservation of franciscana.
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A fast-moving school of short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) off the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador, April 2000. Although they normally avoid approaching vessels, short-beaked common dolphins are one of the most abundant cetaceans in Galápagos waters. Photo credit: Daniel M. Palacios.