Impact of the burrowing activity of Ucides cordatus on the benthic primary production of contaminated and pristine subtropical mangroves

The mangrove crab Ucides cordatus is known to play a significant role as an ecosystem engineer in neotropical mangroves. Major biogeochemical changes, including soil aeration, are associated to their typical and extensive burrows and galleries. In this study we will assess the effects of the burrowing activity of Ucides cordatus on the soil productivity of mangroves in Paranagua Bay (S Brazil), using a field fluorometer. To test the hypothesis that the burrowing effects on soil productivity will be more evident in pristine mangroves, we will apply a mixed ANOVA model, considering the following factors: two different conditions (contaminated and pristine, two levels, fixed factor); two activities (bioturbated and control, two levels, fixed factor); two mangroves nested in condition (random factor); 3 plots (4 per 4 meters) nested within each mangrove (random factor) and 5 active burrows made by adults, as sampling units or replicates per plot. To minimize interference from other crab species, sampling will be carried out at a very short spatial scale in the immediate neighbourhood of the burrows. Samples of 100 g of surface sediment will be taken at 3 points at short intervals from the burrow entrance. Sediment samples will be analysed for total organic phosphorus (TOP) and total organic nitrogen (TON).

ISCED Categories

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

0511 - Biology", "0521 - Ecology