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Composition and spatio-temporal variation of Actinia bermudensis and Actinostella flosculifera diet (Cnidaria; Anthozoa; Hexacorallia)

Grant number: 21/06274-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2022
Effective date (End): February 28, 2026
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Oceanography - Biological Oceanography
Principal Investigator:Sérgio Nascimento Stampar
Grantee:Thaís Barbosa Santos
Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências e Letras (FCL-ASSIS). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Assis. Assis , SP, Brazil


Feeding is an ecological process of paramount importance for most living beings since the organisms can obtain the energy to carry out several stages that are fundamental in their life cycle. In this way, several animals have already been studied under different aspects that involve the feeding process however, there are still groups that present little or no information related to this topic. One of them is Anthozoa, considered the largest class of the phylum Cnidaria and characterized by benthic animals. Although this class presents several studies related to the food web, many gaps still permeate the group. Among the orders of Anthozoa, Actiniaria is the one that had the biggest number of studies related to this topic but, they are focused on certain species of the group. Thus, many species still do not have any information on feed processes, and in Brazilian species, few studies have been performed. Hence, it is essential to carry out new studies to understand how these animals act and assist the preservation of marine ecosystems. Therefore, the present project aims to characterize the diet of Actinia bermudensis and Actinostella flosculifera over one year in two different locations (São Sebastião and Florianópolis), through traditional and molecular analysis of gastric contents. Additionally, due to the increase of plastic waste pollution in marine environments, this project also aims to compile the occurrence of plastic components in the trophic performance of these species. So, with the data obtained in this research, it will be possible to identify the main classes of animals that make up the diet of these two species, observe whether there are changes in feeding behavior due to seasonal and latitudinal changes, and evaluate the potential of these species as microplastic pollution biomonitors.

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