Impact of biological invasions on native mesograzer fitness under ocean acidification and warming

Algal distribution is strongly affected by herbivory, as well as their abundance and community structure. So, in relation with invasive algae species, this factor has a significant importance if the invasion will, or not be successful. Because herbivory has an impact on invasive algae, they also have consequences for the herbivore community. Their establishment can determine whether herbivores are or not able to maintain their fitness rates. Abiotic stressors also play an important role on herbivore development rates, namely pH and temperature. In previous studies, it was verified that when faced with both invasive and native macroalgae, herbivores tend to prefer the native species over the invasive, being the second not affected at all by herbivory. Studies made to assess differences in herbivory communities had also showed that communities near invasive macroalgae areas are different from those near native macroalgae areas. Low pH and warming have, both, also a negative impact on herbivore development. The purpose of this study is to assess the impacts of the invasive macroalgae Sargassum muticum on the native mesograzers´┐Ż fitness together with lowered pH and increased water temperature. To evaluate these impacts, the specie Cystoseira humilis will be used as the native macroalgae. The expectations for this study are that when faced with both stressfull abiotic conditions and invasive macroalgae, herbivore fitness will be low as well as when faced with only one of these stressors.

ISCED Categories

The highlighted icons, represent the fields of education (in compliance with ISCED Classification) engaged during this course/programme.

0511 - Biology", "0521 - Ecology