João Franco

Global and local disturbances in Portuguese kelp forests (Portugal, external PhD 2017)

Kelp forests are among the most ecologically dynamic and diverse habitats on the planet. Nevertheless, increasing pressures from humans and global climate change pose unprecedented threats to these ecosystems worldwide, deeply affecting key species and associated communities. This proposal will integrate results from the ongoing project OceanKelp, funded by FCT, across the continental Portuguese coast. Effects of climatic and non-climatic disturbances (i.e. mechanical disturbance, temperature, nutrient availability, sedimentation and herbivory) on kelp forests will be investigated through in situ and laboratory experiments.

The expected outcomes will increase the knowledge of responses of kelps and associated organisms to local abiotic and biotic stressors operating simultaneously with global climate-related variables, providing tools for coastal managers aimed at preventing and/or mitigating the potential negative effects of these factors.

The specific objectives of my PhD are to:

  1. Determine how resilience of kelp beds is affected by different traits (i.e. mean intensity and temporal variance of anthropogenic perturbations).
  2. Assess performance of kelp recruits to changes in the intensity of combined stressors.
  3. Assess the influence of grazing on kelp recruits.
  4. Examine differences in the magnitude of grazing on kelp species vs an non kelp species.

Supervisors: Fernando Tuya, Thomas Wernberg, Iacopo Bertocci, Isabel Sousa Pinto

João and Brezo sampling kelps and seaweeds in Portugal


Peer reviewed papers

Google Scholar profile: here

  1. Bessa F, SC Gonçalves, JN Franco, JN André, PP Cunha, JC Marques (2014) Temporal changes in macrofauna as response indicator to potential human pressures on sandy beaches. Ecological Indicators 41, 49-57.
  2. Neto JM, MJ Feio, H Teixeira, J Patrício, SRQ Serra, JN Franco, AR Calapez, E Constantino (2014) Transitional and freshwater bioassessments: One site, two perspectives? Marine pollution bulletin 78, 153-164
  3. Modesto V, JN Franco, R Sousa, J Patrício, JC Marques, JM Neto (2013) Spatial and temporal dynamics of Corbicula fluminea (Müller, 1774) in relation to environmental variables in the Mondego Estuary (Portugal). Journal of Molluscan Studies 79, 302-309.
  4. Ceia FR, J Patrício, J Franco, R Pinto, S Fernández-Boo, V Losi, JC Marques, JM Neto (2013) Assessment of estuarine macrobenthic assemblages and ecological quality status at a dredging site in a southern Europe estuary. Ocean & Coastal Management 72, 80-92
  5. Franco JN, FR Ceia, J Patrício, V Modesto, J Thompson, JC Marques, JM Neto (2012) Population dynamics of Corbicula fluminea (Müller, 1774) in mesohaline and oligohaline habitats: Invasion success in a Southern Europe estuary. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 112, 31-39.
  6. Veríssimo H, JM Neto, H Teixeira, JN Franco, BD Fath, JC Marques, J Patrício (2012) Ability of benthic indicators to assess ecological quality in estuaries following management. Ecological Indicators 19, 130-143.
  7. Tuya F, E Cacabelos, P Duarte, D Jacinto, JJ Castro, T Silva, I Bertocci, JN Franco, F Arenas, J Coca, T Wernberg (2012) Patterns of landscape and assemblage structure along a latitudinal gradient in ocean climate. Marine Ecology Progress Series 466, 9-19
  8. Vasco-Rodrigues N, S Mendes, J Franco, M Castanheira, N Castro, P Maranhão (2011) Fish diversity in the Berlengas Natural Reserve (Portugal), a marine protected area. Artigo Científico
  9.  Couto T, J Patrício, JM Neto, FR Ceia, J Franco, JC Marques (2010) The influence of mesh size in environmental quality assessment of estuarine macrobenthic communities. Ecological Indicators 10, 1162-1173.