Coastal plains of São Paulo State coast have several extensions because of the proximity of the Serra do Mar and the coastline, influencing topography and altitude and causing small changes in environmental gradient of aquatic ecosystems and in aquatic macrophytes distribution gradient. Biotic interactions also play an important role in estuarine vegetation zonation. Hypothesis consider that macrophytes are excluded from locations closest to the coastline due to abiotic stress (high salinity) and other from most distant locations due to competition (low salinity). In Brazil there are few studies involving macrophyte ecology in lotic estuarine environments, however, it has been observed that in low latitude estuaries other factors and processes may be responsible for species distribution. Estuaries are among the most impacted environments due to human activities and climate change influence. Sea level rising and the increase of fresh water uptake upstream may lead to raise salinity intrusion in these environments. These factors may be responsible for changing physiological and ecological processes and to change aquatic communities composition. In order to indicate macrophytes species presence and compare environmental gradients and species distribution in estuarine areas, field studies will be conducted in seven estuaries of São Paulo State coast. Experimental studies will be conducted to verify the role of competition during macrophytes establishment process and in order to verify if salinity intrusion may modify macrophytes spatial distribution in estuaries by competitive interaction. This study aims to enrich the knowledge in ecology and restoration of coastal ecosystems and in ecology and conservation of aquatic macrophytes.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: