|Support type:||Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate|
|Effective date (Start):||April 01, 2013|
|Effective date (End):||March 31, 2016|
|Field of knowledge:||Biological Sciences - Ecology - Applied Ecology|
|Principal Investigator:||Paulo Roberto Guimarães Junior|
|Grantee:||Roberta Martini Bonaldo|
|Home Institution:||Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil|
Coral reefs have suffered visible reductions in their structural complexity and species biomass in the last decades. The negative effects of these losses on fish and benthic communities have been widely discussed, but little is known on its influence on the structure of ecological interactions. The feeding activity of fishes on the substratum, for instance, is one of the most important reef processes, as it determines the reef benthonic structure, especially the coral and algal community. Similarly, the formation of feeding groups by reef fishes may offer many advantages to its components, such as the increase of the food intake. Despite the importance of these interactions, little is known about their resilience in face of reef degradation. This study aims to investigate how reef degradation can influence networks of group formation by fishes engaged in feeding activities in three pairs of protected and unprotected reefs in Fiji. The data for the study have already been collected, and the following three goals are proposed: first, to build and analyze the interaction network among species present in the different sites. Second, to compare network structure across sites (protected versus unprotected) and identify which species/groups that differ between the sites. Third, to study which species-specific features may contribute to the resilience of interaction networks in face of degradation. The present study will allow the creation of an interface between theoretical ecology and applied biology, improving the comprehension of the relationship between conservation biology and the structure and dynamics of ecological networks.