Ghost shrimps are classified as ecosystem engineers due to their ability to modify, maintain and/or create new habitats, which gives to these species an important role in structure of marine communities from shallow environments. Information about diversity and geographical distribution of ghost shrimps from coast of Brazil is currently scarce and mainly restricted to the north and northeastern of Brazilian coast. Some important works have provided a list of species; however, the overall knowledge about spatial distribution and basic ecology of most Brazilian species is too limited. Based on a collecting program along the entire coast of Brazil, the present study proposes examining the diversity and geographical distribution of ghost shrimps belonging to infraorders Axiidea and Gebiidea. Furthermore, it will obtain important information about sex ratio and reproductive potential (% ovigerous females) of each species and correlate these variables with spatial distribution along the Brazilian coast, in addition with population density (counting number of burrows), collect of biological material and sampling of decapod symbionts associated to the galleries of the ghost shrimps. The entire coast of Brazil will be covered through two latitudinal expeditions: (i) ERN, North and Northeastern expedition; and (ii) ERS, South and Southeastern expedition. The outcomes of the present study will provide new information about biogeography of this important group of decapod crustacean, which could be used like a baseline to management and conservation of ghost shrimps' populations along the Brazilian coast.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: