Epifauna community associated to Holothuria arguinensis and Holothuria mammata from different habitats

Master Thesis subject (30 ECTS)
The Holothuria genus is found in different marine habitats from coastal shallow waters. Sea cucumbers are found in high densities providing important ecosystem services enhancing nutrient cycling and local productivity in oligotrophic carbonate sediments through their bioturbation and deposit feeding activities. Also, they are valuable fishery resources, specially for Asian countries and in the last years also for European countries which are exporting them to China. In spite of their ecological and economical importance, scarce information about epifauna associated to this group has been published mainly on Mediterranean and NE Atlantic species. Two species belonging to Holothuria genus, Holothuria arguinensis and H. mammata are present in Ria Formosa (South Portugal) occupying different habitats such as seagrass (Cymodocea nodosa and Zostera marina), sandy and muddy bottoms, rocks, etc. In this topic, we will try to establish differences between the epifauna associated to the two sea cucumbers species depending on the habitat and season of year.
It is not mandatory but advisable, previous knowledge on mollusc identification.
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contact person first name: 
Mercedes Wanguemert
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Reference Number: RP-35422