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The benthic macrofauna from the continental shelf and deep sea of Southwestern Atlantic: a new ecosystem approach

Grant number: 13/12491-9
Support Opportunities:Research Grants - Visiting Researcher Grant - International
Duration: December 01, 2013 - November 30, 2014
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Oceanography - Biological Oceanography
Principal Investigator:Ana Maria Setubal Pires-Vanin
Grantee:Ana Maria Setubal Pires-Vanin
Visiting researcher: Pablo Muniz
Visiting researcher institution: Universidad de la República (UDELAR), Uruguay
Host Institution: Instituto Oceanográfico (IO). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The program provides the participation of Dr. Muniz in research activities around two projects, one ongoing and funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology and the other already completed and funded by FAPESP. The present project deals with the study of marine benthic macroinfaunal communities of the continental shelf and the deep sea from a new approach, aiming to join the main flow of carbon existing in the depth gradient of depth to the maintenance of wildlife. The data will come from interdisciplinary project Carbom (INCT-Sea, 2012-2015) and the multidisciplinary project CONCASS (FAPESP, 2002-2004). Two hypotheses guide the project Carbom: 1. The origin of most of the organic matter on the SE Continental Shelf SE (SBCS)is in the South Atlantic Central Water and thus the physical processes that induce the intrusions of this body of water toward the shore determine fertilization of the euphotic zone and the functioning of the shelf ecosystem; 2. The structure of the benthic system in the slope and abyssal bottoms adjacent to the SBB depends largely on the export of particulate organic matter generated on the shelf. The community structure of benthic macroinfauna will be investigated and associated to the carbon flux data to be obtained in the project Carbom. The Visiting Professor will participate actively in the development of the project Carbom. Specifically he will analyzed data related to the vertical distribution (within the sedimentary column) of macroinfauna in the bathymetric gradient considered. For doing this, besides the material and information on the benthic system is also necessary work with data from the pelagic realm and data from the sediment traps moored. In this context, the participation of the professor aims to understand (quali-and quantitatively) as the differential input of organic matter reaching the seabed influences the structure and distribution (horizontal and vertical) of benthic in fauna. In relation to his participation in the CONCASS project, we will compare data of benthic communities from São Sebastião Channel and from Montevideo Bay. Both areas are strongly affected by anthropic activities with a large supply of oil and petroleum products into the environment. In Montevideo Bay the influence of contaminants on benthic organisms and communities has been successfully studied by Dr. Muniz group with application of different indicators of ecosystem health and environmental quality. Dr. Muniz collaboration in the area of environmental assessment will be useful to us, as an opportunity to examine and publish together data under a new methodological and comparative approach. Besides the benefit brought in research, Dr. Muniz also will develop activities related to teaching, supervision of graduate students and participation in dissertation and thesis committees. The elaboration of bilateral project is scheduled. (AU)

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