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The strength of ecological interactions and the environmental mediation at coastal ecosystems


The strength of ecological interactions among species is of fundamental importance in determining community dynamics and the functioning of ecosystems. In marine systems environmental mediation of the strength of ecological interactions can be driven by thermal stress, wave action, upwelling, ocean currents and other factors that may operate through effects at the population level or in determining per capita interaction strength. However, such drivers emerge at different scales and it has been a challenge for ecologists to scale up from local experiments to encompass regional and geographic variation in the physical environment. In a globally changing environment, understanding of how environmental drivers over diverse spatial scales interact and determination of how these drivers modify both population parameters and per capita interaction strength is required if we are to build predictive capacity and hence manage natural systems. Here, we propose to use the Brazilian rocky coastline, from São Paulo State in the south to Espírito Santo State in the north, to test whether the effect of a latitudinal gradient in temperature on species interactions is modified by regional upwelling and other small-medium scale environmental drivers. We will use the intertidal predator-prey system of whelks and barnacle/mussels to evaluate how population parameters, such as abundance and size of individuals change in relation to temperature, productivity, recruitment regime and wave exposure through an observational approach based on a large scale survey. We will also test the prey-predator interaction at different environmental conditions related to the flow of organic matter by isotopic analysis. An experimental approach will be used to determine variation in per capita interaction strength over local and regional spatial scales. At local scales, the relative importance of environmental (e.g. wave exposure) and biological (e.g. prey density) factors on the per capita interaction strength of whelks will be evaluated while at regional scale we will test how upwelling modifies a latitudinal gradient in temperature. Based on these results, we aim to determine how changes in the environment will modify consumer-prey interactions in the coastal zone. (AU)

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Scientific publications (8)
(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)
PARDAL, ANDRE; MARTINEZ, ALINE S.; CHRISTOFOLETTI, RONALDO A.; KARYTHIS, SIMON; JENKINS, STUART R.. Impacts of copper contamination on a rocky intertidal predator-prey interaction. Marine Pollution Bulletin, v. 162, . (16/11947-7, 16/24551-4, 17/09641-0)
MARTINEZ, ALINE S.; MAYER-PINTO, MARIANA; CHRISTOFOLETTI, RONALDO A.. Functional responses of filter feeders increase with elevated metal contamination: Are these good or bad signs of environmental health?. Marine Pollution Bulletin, v. 149, . (16/24551-4, 16/11947-7)
MARTINEZ, ALINE S.; UNDERWOOD, TONY; CHRISTOFOLETTI, RONALDO A.; PARDAL, ANDRE; FORTUNA, MONIQUE A.; MARCELO-SILVA, JOAO; MORAIS, GISELE C.; LANA, PAULO C.. Reviewing the effects of contamination on the biota of Brazilian coastal ecosystems: Scientific challenges for a developing country in a changing world. Science of The Total Environment, v. 803, . (15/26859-3, 16/11947-7, 16/24551-4)
SANCHES, FABIO H. C.; MARTINS, FERNANDO R.; CONTI, WILLIAM R. P.; CHRISTOFOLETTI, RONALDO A.. The increase in intensity and frequency of surface air temperature extremes throughout the western South Atlantic coast. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, v. 13, n. 1, p. 12-pg., . (17/17337-9, 16/24551-4)
PARDAL, ANDRE; MARTINEZ, ALINE S.; CIOTTI, AUREA M.; CHRISTOFOLETTI, RONALDO A.; CORDEIRO, CESAR A. M. M.. Macroecology of rocky intertidal benthic communities along the southwestern Atlantic: Patterns of spatial variation and associations with natural and anthropogenic variables. MARINE ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH, v. 190, p. 15-pg., . (16/11947-7, 16/24551-4, 15/26859-3)
PARDAL, ANDRE; CORDEIRO, CESAR A. M. M.; CIOTTI, AUREA M.; JENKINS, STUART R.; GIMENEZ, LUIS; BURROWS, MICHAEL T.; CHRISTOFOLETTI, RONALDO A.. Influence of environmental variables over multiple spatial scales on the population structure of a key marine invertebrate. MARINE ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH, v. 170, . (16/24551-4, 15/26859-3)
PARDAL, ANDRE; JENKINS, STUART R.; CHRISTOFOLETTI, RONALDO A.. Local and large-scale spatial variation in a marine predator-prey interaction in the southwestern Atlantic. Oecologia, v. 199, n. 3, p. 14-pg., . (15/26859-3, 16/24551-4)
MARTINEZ, ALINE S.; PARDAL, ANDRE; CHRISTOFOLETTI, RONALDO A.; UNDERWOOD, ANTONY J.; MARCELO-SILVA, JOAO; LANA, PAULO C.. More on the science of marine environmental impact assessments in Brazil: A reply to Krull and Barros (2022). Science of The Total Environment, v. 838, p. 2-pg., . (15/26859-3, 16/11947-7, 16/24551-4)

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