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Deep sea corals in the south Atlantic: new insights from an interdisciplinary study

Grant number: 17/50229-5
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: December 01, 2018 - November 30, 2020
Field of knowledge:Interdisciplinary Subjects
Cooperation agreement: NERC, UKRI
Principal Investigator:Marcelo Visentini Kitahara
Grantee:Marcelo Visentini Kitahara
Home Institution: Instituto de Saúde e Sociedade (ISS). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Baixada Santista. Santos , SP, Brazil

Abstract

In contrast to their shallow-water counterparts, azooxantines cold-water corals do not live in symbiosis with photosynthetic dinoflagellates. The South Atlantic holds numerous records of azooxantines species. These records encompass more than 60 species and grow under the influence of water masses originating in high northern and southern latitudes. These waters have very different properties such as nutrient concentrations, pH and temperature. With diversity in habitat and water column properties, the South Atlantic is an ideal testing ground to explore large-scale controls on deep-sea coral distributions and to make use of corals as climate archives. This interdisciplinary proposal represents a unique opportunity to combine the efforts of deep-sea coral researchers in the UK and BR. Kitahara (BR) is funded by FAPESP to improve our understanding of the evolution of scleractinin corals and its relationship to climate change. At the same time Professor Robinson (UK) ls funded by NERC to apply geochemical techniques to deep-sea corals to reconstruct past climates and deep sea coral biogeography. Dra. Taylor (UK) joins the project as an expert in deep-sea ecosystems as well as genetic connectivity across the Atlantic and Southern Ocean This pump-priming proposal in an ideal opportunity for these scientists to initiate a long- term partnership to build a coherent view of the long term controls on deep-sea corals. With access to samples within the South Atlantic (BR) and to the North and South (UK) we are proposing to come together in a new collaboration to share our ideas, samples, and techniques. Within the two-year program we will organize visits to exchange knowledge, establish a shared specimen database, share samples, and access to laboratories and facilities. We also plan to collaborate on writing a paper, and will seek to establish additional support to continue these efforts beyond the scope of this initial proposal. (AU)

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