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Use of autonomous reef monitoring structures in the inventory and monitoring of the marine cryptic fauna

Grant number: 17/11948-6
Support type:BIOTA-FAPESP Program - Regular Research Grants
Duration: May 01, 2018 - October 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology
Principal Investigator:Tito Monteiro da Cruz Lotufo
Grantee:Tito Monteiro da Cruz Lotufo
Home Institution: Instituto Oceanográfico (IO). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers:Ana Paula Siqueira Dornellas ; Cristiane Xerez Barroso ; Francisca Andréa da Silva Oliveira


The diversity of organisms with cryptic habits in coralline environments is still one of the great challenges in terms of marine biodiversity knowledge. With that in mind, an artificial cubic structure was conceived to assess the cryptic fauna from coral reefs. These devices were named as Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS), and are kept submerged for over 12 months, allowing the recruitment of cryptic animals that can be efficiently collected and with minimum impact to the environment. ARMS have been used in the last decade in many places around the world, including a large variety of coralline environments. This project aims to use ARMS for the first time in Southeast Brazil to survey the cryptic biota from coastal insular areas in São Paulo, deploying these devices in a total of 4 locations, in the following marine protected areas: Estação Ecológica Tupinambás, Parque Estadual da Ilha Anchieta e Refúgio da Vida Silvestre de Alcatrazes. The ARMS will be deployed in triplicates on each location, at depths around 10m, and then kept submerged for over 12 months. After the submersion period, the ARMS will be replaced and processed, and all organisms collected, photographed and preserved for taxonomic identification and generation of DNA barcode sequences. A second stage of this project intends to use meta-barcoding techniques, using massive next generation sequencing to gather short sequences to query DNA databases. As results, it will be possible to describe the cryptic diversity from the rocky bottoms around the coastal islands included in the study, allowing an assessment and comparison with other localities around the globe, and establishing the baseline for future long term monitoring of these areas. (AU)