Parasites were recently recognized as important components of the global biodiversity, because of the important roles played by these organisms in natural ecosystems. In Brazil, there are several studies about the occurrence of parasites in various fish species. However, most of them refer only to taxonomic aspects and/or have few quantitative and ecological data on parasite communities, such as the aspects that may affect the parasite fauna of these fishes, as site of collection and relations with biotic and abiotic factors. Thus, the aim of this project is to conduct a study of biodiversity and spatial structure of helminth parasite communities of fishes from the Sapucaí-Mirim River, Southeastern Brazil. Eighteen native fish species belonging to four orders (Characiformes, Gymnotiformes, Siluriformes, and Perciformes) were collected in eight points along the Sapucaí-Mirim River, São Paulo State, Brazil, in an area under the influence of Small Hydroelectric Power Plants (Palmeiras, Anhanguera, and Retiro). Samples were collected in different seasons (dry and rainy seasons) during the period of two years (2012 and 2013). Patterns of similarity between parasite infracommunities will be first examined by means of non-metric multidimensional scaling. Generalized lineal mixed models will be used to identify the set of biotic and abitotic factors that best explain parasite community richness and diversity. Similarly the influence of biotic and abiotic variables on parasite abundance data will be evaluated.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: