Goals and Aims

Overall goal:
The overall goal of the proposed study is to evaluate the historical influence of global environmental changes on the carbon cycle and biological diversity in coastal ecosystems, including current local anthropogenic interferences in this relationship, using the restinga ecosystem and the lakes of the PARNA Restinga de Jurubatiba as a model.
Specific goals:
1. Evaluate how changes in rainfall patterns influence the mechanisms of input, storage and export of carbon in Jurubatiba Lake and Comprida Lake.
2. Evaluate temporal patterns in the relative contribution of plant species to the amount of leaf litter deposited in a restinga ecosystem, in relation to phenology and climate.
3. Assess, through tests in microcosms, the influence of the benthic compartment on the flow of CO2 and CH4 through the water-sediment interface in Jurubatiba and Comprida coastal lakes.
4. Quantify the long-term decomposition and therefore the carbon dynamics of coastal restingas utilizing a common and globally applied protocol, with the intention of integrating global data for prediction of climate change scenarios world-wide.
5. Verify how the functional characteristics of species are related to environmental factors such as water availability, as well as other environmental variables that characterize the restinga ecosystem.
6. Evaluate the effects of the water table on the availability of nutrients in sandy, open, Clusia scrub environments in correlation with lakes and verify its effects on vegetation.
7. Describe annual and multi-annual variations in demographic parameters of species (including phytoplankton, zooplankton, grasses, arthropods, fish, reptiles, amphibians and mammals) and community structure due to climatic variations and verify the occurrence of endangered species, endemic species and species of conservation interest that may serve as parameters for inferring the degree of conservation of the different sampling points within the study area.
8. Assess the dynamics of target species and monitor parameters of interest, allowing spatial and temporal comparisons in order to identify patterns and fluctuations related to climate change.
9. Evaluate the impact of anthropogenic factors on the distribution, abundance and richness of focal species in the study area and monitor the distribution and abundance of invasive and exotic species (grasses, arthropods, fish and mammals) in the PARNA Restinga Jurubatiba.
10. Describe annual and multi-annual variations in the abundance of target species due to temporal variations in climatic elements (rainfall, humidity, temperature and insolation) and the phenology of restinga plants that provide food resources for consumers.
11. Model the response of target groups to short-term (annual) and long-term (multi-year) environmental changes and the spatial and temporal structure of populations.
12. Evaluate variation in the genetic composition of the aquatic and semi-terrestrial amphipod population, determining possible speciation events in relation to paleogeographic events, while also elucidating the effects of and response mechanisms to local environmental variation.
13. Evaluate the perception of local communities with regard to their recognition of native and exotic species in the PARNA Restinga Jurubatiba, the uses and importance of these species, the consequences of biological invasions, and the history of species introductions.
14. Promote access to information produced by the project to the local population, for the purpose of integrating the population in the conservation of restinga environments.