Increased anthropogenic pressure decreases species richness in tropical intertidal reefs

Adriana Brizon Portugal, Fabrício Lopes Carvalho, Pedro Bastos de Macedo Carneiro, Sergio Rossi, Marcelo de Oliveira Soares

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18 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 Elsevier Ltd Multiple human stressors affect tropical intertidal sandstone reefs, but little is known about their biodiversity and the environmental impacts of these stressors. In the present study, multiple anthropogenic pressures were integrated using the relative environmental pressure index (REPI) and related to benthic community structure across an intertidal gradient in five sandstone reefs in the tropical South Atlantic coast. Greater species richness and diversity were noted in the low intertidal zones. There was a negative relationship between REPI and species richness, suggesting that increasing anthropogenic pressure has decreased benthic richness. The factors associated with the loss of richness were jetties built to control erosion, urban areas, beachfront kiosks and restaurants, fish markets, and storm sewers with illegal sewage connections. Our results highlight the need for better infrastructure planning and rigorous monitoring of coastal urban areas, since the large influence of multiple human pressures in these reefs leads to biodiversity losses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-54
JournalMarine Environmental Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016


  • Anthropogenic pressure
  • Biodiversity
  • Bioindicators
  • Community composition
  • Intertidal sandstone reef
  • Marine ecology
  • Relative environmental pressure index


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