Spatial patterns of macrobenthos communities in along the north coast of Peru, during El Niño (2016) and post-El Niño (2017)

Type: 
Master Thesis subject (30 ECTS)
programme: 
EMBC+
Macrobenthos organisms are typically exposed to different stressors in a natural environment, either due to anthropogenic or natural phenomena. Sechura Bay is a very dynamic area along the northern coast of Peru where numerous anthropogenic activities are conducted, from the intensive culture of the Peruvian scallop till phosphates extractions. All of these actors can cause a potential disturbance in the macrobenthos communities. Despite the fact that Illescas Reserved Zone is a protected area (mainly inland), many adjacent anthropogenic activities are developed that probably affect the benthic communities, as well as the maritime economy activities (e.g. aquaculture and fishery). In addition, El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) occurred in Peru last year, which caused a shift in temperature, rain intensity and other parameters along the Piura Region. This could have been impacted the benthic organisms as well. The aim of this research is to answer the following questions: (1) did the macrobenthic communities changed due to different stressors in different locations? (2) Did the ENSO modified the macrobenthic communities? how is their resilience and adaptive capacity in relation to these different stressors? Therefore, macrobenthic infauna organisms were sampled in the northern and southern location of Sechura Bay, and at front Illescas Reserved Zone, during ENSO 2016 and post ENSO 2017 (Peru). In the case of the Illescas Reserved Zone location, organisms were sampled in and adjacent to the seaweed Caulerpa filiformes beds in order to evaluate the influence of this species, in terms of macrobenthos structures. In overall, the goal of this research is to determine the different macrobenthic assemblages in different locations of Sechura Bay and Illescas Reserved Zone, and during the pre and post-raining season during the ENSO 2016 and post ENSO 2017.
prerequisites: 
Biology Chemistry Ecology
Number of students: 
1
academic year: 
2016-2017
Contact person email: 
contact person first name: 
Ivan
contact person last name: 
Loaiza Alamo
Other people involved: 
DE TROCH, Marleen (UGENT)
Reference Number: RP-47531