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Functional ecology of seagrasses and canopy-forming algae: trophic subsidies to demersal consumers

Abstract

Shallow vegetated habitats provide important physical structure and trophic resources for very diverse communities of mobile invertebrates. This associated fauna may in turn sustain higher-order consumers, chiefly fish recruits that use seagrass or canopy-forming macroalgae (complex vegetated habitats, CVHs) as nursery grounds. Despite of potential impacts on several ecosystem services, such as fisheries, the dynamics of this benthic-pelagic trophic link remain poorly understood. This proposal aims to (i) understand how invertebrate communities change from unstructured habitat to CVHs (spatial processes), (ii) assess how phytal invertebrate groups assemble in markedly seasonal CVHs (temporal processes), (iii) compare predation pressure upon unstructured benthic habitats, seagrass meadows and reef macroalgal canopies, and (iv) evaluate the relative importance of top-down and bottom-up processes controlling mobile invertebrates through consumer-exclusion experiments. The results of this project will contribute for a better assessment of the importance of CVHs as a link between the benthic and the pelagic realm through the feeding activity of demersal consumers, and would potentially assist any conservation policies aiming the resilience of coastal benthic habitats or the protection of coastal fisheries. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
FIGUEIREDO, CARLA K.; DUARTE, RAFAEL C.; FLORES, V, AUGUSTO A.. Ecosystem functioning of canopy- and turf-forming algae: contrasting supply of invertebrate prey to pelagic consumers. MARINE ECOLOGY-PROGRESS SERIES, v. 647, p. 79-92, . (19/01934-3, 18/11044-2)

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