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Organizational general patterns of edaphic-epigeic community and the evaluation of its indicator value to prevent catastrophic shifts in Mediterranean drylands under desertification

Grant number: 14/00631-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): June 11, 2014
Effective date (End): June 10, 2015
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Ecosystems Ecology
Principal Investigator:Alexandre Souto Martinez
Grantee:Fernando Meloni
Supervisor: V. Ramón Vallejo Calzada
Supervisor: Susana Bautista
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Research place: Fundación Centro de Estudios Ambientales del Mediterráneo (CEAM), Spain ;   Universidad de Alicante (UA), Spain  
Associated to the scholarship:13/06196-4 - Study of edaphic and epigeic communities as self-organized complex systems, BP.PD


Dryland ecosystems are very fragile and little resilient. So in dry lands, perturbations and increasing stress may cause catastrophic shifts, even degrading the soil layers and making it difficult to restore the degraded land. Despite these regions are socially and economically very important worldwide, the dynamics and interactions of the processes that lead to desertification are still unknown, making difficult to predict and prevent catastrophic shifts. Soil Arthropods are very important for the maintenance and functioning of edaphic ecological processes, also considered good indicators of the functional status of these processes. The present research project aims to study the edaphic and epigeic Arthropod fauna in dry lands, and specifically (1) to find indicators of the recovery of ecological functioning in restored sites threatened by desertification, (2) to search for the structural parameters of these communities that indicate the minimum functioning of ecological processes, so matching soil health and community structure in the threatened sites, and (3) to identify the effects of entropy on the structure of soil communities. Additionally, it will verify the influence of plant cover and pattern on dryland restoration success, considering the edaphic-epigeic community as assessment tool. The experiment will be carried out in a dryland area in San Vicente region, Spain. Fauna samples will begin at least eight months after the planting, and sampling will follow local seasonality. Functional protocols will be applied for soil health assessment, comparing it to diversity indexes and qualitative and quantitative fauna patterns. Data of fauna from not restored sites, restored sites and mature ecosystems will be organized in interaction networks, for evaluating fauna standards structuration under different successional levels, as auto-organized complex systems. We expect to find (1) fauna indicators able to predict both degradation catastrophic shifts and potential for restoration in dry lands, (2) to determine how the structural community arrangement allows inferring about the good functioning of the ecological processes, and (3) the effect of entropy in community main standards, comparing results obtained in degraded dryland with results obtained in fertile soils. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
MELONI, FERNANDO; NAKAMURA, GILBERTO M.; GRANZOTTI, CRISTIANO R. F.; MARTINEZ, ALEXANDRE S.. Vegetation cover reveals the phase diagram of patch patterns in drylands. PHYSICA A-STATISTICAL MECHANICS AND ITS APPLICATIONS, v. 534, . (13/06196-4, 14/00631-3)
MELONI, FERNANDO; FABRI GRANZOTTI, CRISTIANO ROBERTO; BAUTISTA, SUSANA; MARTINEZ, ALEXANDRE SOUTO. Scale dependence and patch size distribution: clarifying patch patterns in Mediterranean drylands. ECOSPHERE, v. 8, n. 2, . (13/06196-4, 14/00631-3)
MELONI, FERNANDO; CIVIETA, BERTA F.; ZARAGOZA, JUAN A.; LOURDES MORAZA, MARIA; BAUTISTA, SUSANA. Vegetation Pattern Modulates Ground Arthropod Diversity in Semi-Arid Mediterranean Steppes. INSECTS, v. 11, n. 1, . (13/06196-4, 14/00631-3)

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