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Conservation paleobiology: Holothuroidea (Echinodermata) as climatic change indicators throughout the Holocene of Campos Basin, South Atlantic

Grant number: 21/06442-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2022
Effective date (End): April 30, 2024
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Oceanography - Geological Oceanography
Principal Investigator:Felipe Antonio de Lima Toledo
Grantee:Luciana Ribeiro Martins
Host Institution: Instituto Oceanográfico (IO). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Studies related to climate change have received great attention due to global warming caused by the increase in CO2 concentrations resulting mainly from anthropogenic action. However, impacts on ecological systems pre-date the oldest scientific observations and understanding modern extinctions requires additional data sources that extend further back in time. Palaeoecological records, which provide quantitative proxy records of ecosystems prior to human impact, are essential for understanding recent extinctions and future extinction risks. Conservation paleobiology produces quantitative records on time scales that are beyond the reach of ecology. Piston corer, for instance, have the longest time span, far beyond human history. These data are extremely important to gain long-term perspectives on the dynamics of species, communities, and ecosystems. Holothuroidea are common components of the marine invertebrate fauna from the Paleozoic to the present day. The knowledge about holothuroid assemblages is an important support to the paleoceanographic and paleoclimatic research, contributing to the study of parameters such as sedimentation rates, sea levels and hydrological changes (e.g. circulation, temperature, productivity and salinity). Approaches involving the composition of species, as well as their response to climate changes in the Holocene, will be studied based on testimonies obtained in the Campos Basin. Thus, this project proposes to (I) describe the taxonomic composition, density and richness of Holothuroidea in the Campos Basin and to compare with current records; (II) reconstruct the historical range of species variability throughout the Holocene and (III) describe the biota's response, related to its taxonomic composition and richness in the face of disturbances related to temperature variation, carbonate, salinity and analysis of stable isotopes (oxygen and carbon). This project aims to realize a palaeoecological study, unprecedent in Brazil using Holothuroidea as models. The compilation of these data is crucial to support for decision making in conservation practices. (AU)

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