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Assessment of the severity and monitoring of the impact of oil on beaches and reefs on the Northeast coast, through the use of multiple approaches, tools and innovative technologies

Abstract

Oil spill determines severe contamination with immediate, detectable acute effects on organisms and environments, which can extend for decades. Even in less severe situations, recovery will usually occur within two to ten years. In the areas that received oil supply, marine organisms are under impact through different mechanisms related to its physical and chemical properties and the form of their incorporation by different substrates. It can lead to direct and indirect effects with consequences for survival, reproduction, development and general activities of the organisms. The process of remediation of this type of contamination can use multiple strategies, from natural attenuation to invasive treatments. Whether natural or induced attenuation, monitoring biological and geochemical processes is crucial. This project aims to assess the impacts of oil on the structure of communities and population density of key organisms as well as on their activity patterns, damage to the development of organisms, effects on the reproductive potential of biological groups selected through Pernambuco beaches and reefs. We will use a wide variety of tools, biological impact indicators, and innovative technologies. Besides, the project aims to investigate potential specific geophysical signatures caused by the oil spill that hit the beaches of Pernambuco, Northeast Brazil. We will assess the degree of severity of the impact of the oil spill on beach and reef ecosystems. We will address the current situation of biological indicators compared to data collected in the past in the study areas. We will consider the following variables in this project: density and diversity of selected groups of macrofauna and meiofauna; functional groups of Nematoda and Polychaeta; reproductive and malformation indicators of Copepoda Harpacticoida and Amphipoda; diversity and amounts of fatty acids of selected species of macrofauna and meiofauna groups; bioacoustics / ecoacoustics of reef environments, and geophysical signature. We will use the best tools used in impact description to carry out a medium and long terms monitoring of the effects of the oil spill. (AU)

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