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Effect of metal contamination on a rocky intertidal predator-prey interaction

Grant number: 17/09641-0
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): January 15, 2019
Effective date (End): January 14, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Applied Ecology
Principal researcher:Ronaldo Adriano Christofoletti
Grantee:Andre Luiz Pardal Souza
Supervisor abroad: Stuart Rees Jenkins
Home Institution: Instituto de Saúde e Sociedade (ISS). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Baixada Santista. Santos , SP, Brazil
Research place: Bangor University, Wales  
Associated to the scholarship:15/26859-3 - Integration of ecological processes over different spatial scales: an intertidal predator-prey system, BP.DR


Trophic interactions are fundamental in the regulation of ecological communities. While research has made significant advances in elucidating the relationship between natural environmental variation and biotic interactions, the effects of anthropogenic stressors on these ecological processes is relatively under-studied. This is an important requirement in a world under extensive and growing human pressure. Among anthropogenicstressors, metal contamination is a global problem. Human activities exponentially increase the concentration of metals in coastal regions, which can be toxic and cause ecological problems. Metal contamination may alters interactions between consumers and prey, with potential effects on community regulation and ecosystem functioning. However, the relationship between contamination and trophic interactions remains poorly understood. The main objective of this proposal is to evaluate the effect of metal contamination (copper) on the trophic interaction between key rocky intertidal invertebrates (whelk Nucella lapillus and barnacle Semibalanus balanoides) through field and lab-based manipulative experiments. We will develop this research in collaboration with a world leading research group in marine ecology, led by Prof. Stuart Jenkins, at Bangor University (Wales). This proposal describes original research of high interest to the scientific community and environmental managers, to be held at a center of excellence with a consolidated partnership.