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Development and application of benthic foraminiferal-based indices for biomonitoring environmental quality in mudbelts deposits on the South-Southeast Brazilian continental shelf

Grant number: 20/13224-8
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2021
Effective date (End): May 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Oceanography - Geological Oceanography
Principal researcher:Silvia Helena de Mello e Sousa
Grantee:Márcio Santana dos Santos de Jesus
Home Institution: Instituto Oceanográfico (IO). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


This proposal is aiming to the better understanding of the current and over the last century of living benthic foraminifera and their fossil content, respectively, through the availability of food, trace elements, oxygenation conditions and hydrodynamism reflected in the sediment, in mudbelts from the South-Southeast Brazilian continental shelf. The benthic foraminifera distribution is still unknown in terms of the responses of living ones in these oceanic environments. Therefore, the study about living and fossil content of benthic foraminifera related with organic and inorganic geochemical parameters besides the oceanic circulation in mudbelts is something up to date. The availability of food in the sediment will be evaluated by the content of organic matter, namely total organic carbon, total nitrogen and their isotopes in the sediment. The trace elements and hydrodynamism will be based on the sedimentology. Thus, the data generated should strengthen the understanding of fundamental aspects that control the distribution of benthic foraminifera by applying ecological indexes developed for the evaluation of current environmental quality and over a period of approximately one century on the South-Southeast Brazilian continental shelf, as well as the oceanographic processes that influence them (e.g., meso-scale features such as meanders and vortexes). In addition, the demand for knowledge of the factors controlling the distribution of benthic foraminifera has increased in recent decades, as knowledge of the ecology of this group is one of the main proxies for environmental reconstitution. It should also be noted that this project is part of the thematic project "Mud-belts of South and Southeast Brazil: Implications on anthropogenic influences on the marine environment" (Process FAPESP 2015/17763-2), which has as its main objective to evaluate the potential for accumulation of anthropogenic materials in the South and Southeast Brazilian continental shelf through the study of organic compounds and metals deposited in the mudbelts. (AU)

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