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Spatial distribution and temporal dynamics deep-sea corals from Santos Basin, and their role as biodiversity hotspots

Grant number: 18/13141-5
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2018
Effective date (End): March 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Oceanography - Biological Oceanography
Principal Investigator:Paulo Yukio Gomes Sumida
Grantee:Nayara Ferreira Carvalho
Home Institution: Instituto Oceanográfico (IO). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Cold-water corals are among the most significant ecosystem engineers on continental shelves, slopes, canyons, seamounts and mountain ranges systems around the world. In Brazil, they occur only in deep waters bathed by cold currents. The skeletons of these corals provide a complex three-dimensional structural habitat that is used by a myriad of species as a refuge or as feeding grounds. However, the distribution of these organisms is far from understood and their comprehension, especially in the South Atlantic, is essential since they constitute a rich natural reservoir of biodiversity. In the present project, we will evaluate the spatial variation and temporal dynamics of the deep reefs communities of the Santos Basin (Southeastern Brazil), and determine if deep corals act as biodiversity hotspots. The study will be based on a deep-water coral image database from Santos Basin, collected by remotely operated vehicles operated by Petrobras Company, and through a submarine observatory that will be installed between 500 and 1000 m depth on the same basin. (AU)