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Macrobenthic community structure in naturally fragmented subtropical rocky shores

Grant number: 12/08377-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2012
Effective date (End): December 31, 2012
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Ecosystems Ecology
Principal Investigator:Ronaldo Adriano Christofoletti
Grantee:Andre Luiz Pardal Souza
Host Institution: Instituto de Saúde e Sociedade (ISS). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Baixada Santista. Santos , SP, Brazil


The study of ecological processes at different spatial scales has been a topic widely discussed in ecology recently. Particularly in coastal environments, bottom-up and top-down control on communities are well known, while landscape approach is an emerging subject. This project will test the hypothesis that ecological processes are influenced by natural habitat fragmentation, reflecting on community structure. Previous publications have been shown the influence of biofilm on larval settlement (mediation) and on population parameters of herbivores (bottom-up control), besides of 'bulldozers' impact on larval recruitment. Thus, differential patterns of distribution and abundance of grazers and biofilm in an area presumably influence the structure and dynamics of local communities. In this sense, we will assess community structure of sessile macrobenthic (composition, abundance and vertical distribution), as well as population parameters of slow-moving grazers (limpets and litorinids) between boulders with different geomorphology (isolated and connected). As study model, we will use rocky shores in Ubatuba on the north coast of São Paulo. Moreover, we will evaluate the grazing activity of Ligia exotica, considering that this isopod is the main biofilm consumer in this region and, therefore, its differential occurrence can affect community dynamics. (AU)

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