Brazilian Journal of Oceanography
On-line version ISSN 1982-436X
PAGLIOSA, Paulo Roberto et al. Influence of piers on functional groups of benthic primary producers and consumers in the channel of a subtropical coastal lagoon. Braz. j. oceanogr. [online]. 2012, vol.60, n.1, pp.65-73. ISSN 1982-436X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1679-87592012000100007.
Artificial habitats have become common in coastal areas worldwide and may influence the structure and functioning of benthic ecosystems. We analyze the influence of piers on the benthic morphofunctional groups of rocky seaweeds and of soft bottom macrofauna in the channel of Conceição Lagoon (southern Brazil). The main impact is a reduction in the luminosity available for photosynthetic activity which is directly related to a decrease in the biomasses of sediment microphytobenthos and of more highly structured macroalgae life-forms. Contrary to expectations, the morphotypes of potentially high biomass productivity, such as articulated coralline, corticated and leathery macroalgae, were in general less abundant and the low biomass foliose and filamentous macroalgae occurred in reference areas but not under the piers. The piers' effects on motile epifauna and infauna functional groups were site-specific and probably related to the general reduction in primary producer organisms in the new habitats. The discretely motile infauna was the only functional group able to thrive under the piers due to their reduced motility and fragile morphological structures, being benefited by the shelter provided by the artificial habitats. Our results showed that the piers might have a negative effect on the base-trophic level organisms responsible for bottom-up controls.
Keywords : Soft bottom; Rocky bottom; Macroalgae; Macrofauna; Functional analysis; Bottom-up control.