Materials transfer through the continent-sea interface (INTC-TMCOcean)

Summary of the project

The transport, accumulation, cycling and biogeochemistry of nutrients, organic matter and trace metals in the land-ocean interface will be performed by comparing different coastal systems along the east-northeastern cost of Brazil under different environmental situations, particularly on the behavior of the fluvial-estuarine continuum under semi-arid (northeastern coast) and sub-tropical humid (southeastern coast) under the intensive human development resulting in pressures from river damming, water diversion and basin transposition, urbanization, industrialization and agriculture. The use of environmental geochemical tracers, including both organic and inorganic, natural isotopes and historical sets of data and remote sensing analysis will make possible the evaluation of the variation in time of the processes.

Major objectives are: On the environmental geochemistry framework, to evaluate the changes in sediment, organic matter, nutrients and pollutants fluxes from the continent downriver to the estuarine area with emphasis on changes in basin morphology, erosion and sedimentation of estuaries. A hierarchical typology of such drivers should be achieved in order to balance future planning actions for the watersheds. A detailed description of the major biogeochemical processes will be performed in a comparative way taking into consideration the different geochemical backgrounds of the regions, in particular the behavior of sediment, nutrients, organic matter and pollutants in the geochemical gradient from humid climate to semi-arid climate. On the human dimensions, the project will evaluate social-economic impacts of the productive chains of artisan fisheries and irrigated agriculture of the basins, with emphasis on water use conflicts, erosion of agriculture lands and sedimentation. On the global and regional climate change scenarios, analyze changes in biodiversity proxies of global and land use changes, including changing of natural ecosystems and biodiversity to construct future scenarios and propose planning strategies.

The project aims to consolidate and amplify the ongoing research lines at the interdisciplinary and multi-institutional levels, with its consequent impact on the scientific production of the groups. The interaction between emergent groups with consolidated ones and international cooperation will allow the build up of human capability aiming a decrease of regional inequalities and the application of the results to solving local and regional problems.

Area of study

South western Atlantic Ocean

TimeTable for activities

Start date: 2009; End date: 2014