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Trophic model of the outer continental shelf and upper slope demersal community of the southeastern Brazilian Bight
Marcela C. Nascimento, Gonzalo Velasco, Thomas A. Okey, Villy Christensen and A. Cecília Z. Amaral

It is increasingly recognized that demersal communities are important for the functioning of continental shelf and slope ecosystems around the world, including tropical regions. Demersal communities are most prominent in areas of high detritus production and transport, and they link benthic and pelagic biological communities. To understand the structure and role of the demersal community on the southeastern Brazilian Bight, we constructed a trophodynamic model with 37 functional groups to represent the demersal community of the outer continental shelf and upper slope of this area, using the Ecopath with Ecosim 6 (EwE) approach and software. The model indicates high production and biomass of detritus and benthic invertebrates, and strong linkages of these components to demersal and pelagic sub-webs. The level of omnivory indexes in this ecosystem was high, forming a highly connected trophic web reminiscent of tropical land areas. Although high levels of ascendency may indicate resistance and resilience to disturbance, recent and present fisheries trends are probably degrading the biological community and related ecosystem services.

Keywords: modelling, demersal community, Brazil, Brazilian Exclusive Economic Zone, deep sea, ecosystem, southeastern Brazil
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 76(4) : 763-779 Back PDF
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