Published May 13, 2022


Google Scholar
Search GoogleScholar

Sol de Maria César Ferreira

Lucas Assumpção Lolis

Pietro Martins Barbosa Noga

Helen Michelle de Jesus Affe

José Marcos de Castro Nunes



This study aimed to inventory the species of marine macroalgae and analyze the distribution and biomass patterns of their communities along a short coastal reef gradient in northeastern Brazil. Samples were collected using the technique of random squares, distributed in the three habitats: reef front region (FR), tide pools (TP), and reef plateau (RP). These three make up the reef gradient from the sea to the beach. A total of 56 taxa were identified, with Ochrophyta and Rhodophyta standing out as the phyla with the greater taxonomic richness, and the largest biomass represented by the species Sargassum vulgare (30 % of total biomass) and     (16 %). The key emergening patterns along the reef gradient were the occurrence of groups of exclusive taxa in each habitat, and significant variation in biomass, greater in the TP (166.1 g m-2) and lower in the RP (70.5 g m-2). Despite being an environment under marked anthropogenic influence (i.e., tourism and development), we observed a high diversity of species, with a distribution pattern that reflects a high environmental heterogeneity and substantial ecological integrity.


Benthic phycoflora, Macroalgae, Midlittoral zone, Tropical reef

Altamirano M, Nunes JMC. Contribuciones al macrofitobentos del municipio de Camacari (Bahía, Brasil), Acta Botanica Malacitana, 22: 211–215, 1997.
doi: 10.24310/abm.v22i0.8639

Anderson MJ. Distance‐based tests for homogeneity of multivariate dispersions, Biometrics, 62(1): 245–253, 2006.
doi: 10.1111/j.1541-0420.2005.00440.x

Anderson MJ. Permutational multivariate analysis of variance, Wiley StatsRef: Statistics Reference Online, 1–15, 2017.
doi: 10.1002/9781118445112.stat07841

Bahia RG, Abrantes DP, Brasileiro PS, Pereira Filho GH, Amado Filho GM. Rhodolith bed structure along a depth gradient on the northern coast of Bahia State, Brazil, Brazilian journal of oceanography, 58(4): 323–337, 2010.
doi: 10.1590/S1679-87592010000400007

Ballesteros E, Torras X, Pinedo S, García M, Mangialajo L, Torres M. A new methodology based on littoral community cartography dominated by macroalgae for the implementation of the European Water Framework Directive, Marine Pollution Bulletin, 55(1-6): 172–180, 2007.
doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2006.08.038

Barbosa SO, Figueiredo MAO, Testa V. Estrutura e dinâmica de comunidades bentônicas dominadas por macrófitas na zona intramareal da Praia de Jacaraípe, Espírito Santo, Brazil, Hoehnea, 35(4): 563–575, 2008.
doi: 10.1590/S2236-89062008000400008

Borowitzka MA. Intertidal algal species diversity and the effect of pollution, Marine and Freshwater Research, 23(2): 73–84, 1972.
doi: 10.1071/MF9720073

Brazil Marine Agency. Tidal schedule, Hydrography and Navigation Diretory, 1998.

Bray JR, Curtis JT. An ordination of the upland forest communities of southern Wisconsin, Ecological monographs, 27(4): 325–349, 1957.
doi: 10.2307/19422688

Bringloe TT, Starko S, Wade RM, Vieira C, Kawai H, De Clerck O, Cock JM, Coelho SM, Destombe C, Valero M, Neiva J, Pearson GA, Faugeron S, Serrão EA, Verbruggen H. Phylogeny and Evolution of the Brown Algae, Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences, 39(4): 281–321, 2020.
doi: 10.1080/07352689.2020.1787679

Caires TA, Costa IO, de Matos MRB, Lyra GM, Nunes JMC. Phenological studies in populations of Hypnea musciformis (Rhodophyta: Gigartinales) in a tropical region of Brazil, Brazilian Journal of Botany, 36(2): 135–140, 2013.
doi: 10.1007/s40415-013-0016-3

Caldeira AQ, Reis RP. Brazilian macroalgae assemblages analyzed using the ecological evaluation index (EEI-c), Ocean & Coastal Management, 182: 104927, 2019.
doi: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2019.104927

Clarke KR, Warwick RM. An approach to statistical analysis and interpretation, Change in marine communities, 2: 117–143, 1994.
doi: 10.5134/144637

Costa IO, Caires TA, Pereira Filho GH, Nunes JMC. Macroalgae associated with banks of Hypnea musciformis (Wulfen) J.V. Lamour. (Rhodophyta, Gigartinales) on two beaches on the coast of Bahia, Acta Botanica Brasilica, 26(2): 493–507. 507, 2012.
doi: 10.1590/S0102-33062012000200025

Costa Jr OS, Attrill MJ, Pedrini AG, De Paula JC. Spatial and seazonal distribution of seaweeds on coral reefs from Southern Bahia, Brazil, Botanica Marina, 45(4): 346–355, 2002.
doi: 10.1515/BOT.2002.035

de Souza AT, Ilarri MI, de Medeiros PR, Sampaio CLS, Horta PA. Small distances, great differences: a case study involving the biomass of reef seaweeds and fishes on the coast of Paraíba, Northeast Brazil, Biotemas, 20(2): 9–13, 2007.
doi: 10.5007/%25x

Díez I, Santolaria A, Gorostiaga JM. The relationship of environmental factors to the structure and distribution of subtidal seaweed vegetation of the western Basque coast (N. Spain), Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 56(5-6): 1041–1054, 2003.
doi: 10.1016/S0272-7714(02)00301-3

Díez I, Secilla A, Santolaria A, Gorostiaga JM. Ecological monitoring of intertidal phytobenthic communities of the Basque Coast (N. Spain) following the Prestige oil spill, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 159(1-4): 555–575, 2009.
doi: 10.1007/s10661-008-0651-5

Falcão C, de Széchy MTM. Changes in shallow phytobenthic assemblages in southeastern Brazil, following the replacement of Sargassum vulgare (Phaeophyta) by Caulerpa scalpelliformis (Chlorophyta), Botanica Marina, 48(3): 208–217, 2005.
doi: 10.1515/BOT.2005.033

Fenwick GD. The effect of wave exposure on the amphipod fauna of the alga Caulerpa brownie, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 25(1): 1–18, 1976.
doi: 10.1016/0022-0981(76)90072-1

Figueiredo MA, Barreto MBB, Reis RP. Characterisation of macroalgae in the marine communities of Cairuçú Environmental Protected Area, Parati, RJ: bases for future monitoring, Brazilian Journal of Botany, 27(1): 11–17, 2004.
doi: 10.1590/S0100-84042004000100002

Gaylord B, Reed DC, Raimondi PT, Washburn L. Macroalgal spore dispersal in coastal environments: mechanistic insights revealed by theory and experiment, Ecological Monographs, 76(4): 481–502, 2006.
doi: 10.1890/0012-9615(2006)076[0481:MSDICE];2

Goslee SC, Urban DL. The ecodist package for dissimilarity-based analysis of ecological data, Journal of Statistical Software, 22(7): 1–19, 2007.
doi: 10.18637/jss.v022.i07

Guiry MD & Guiry GM. AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National university of ireland, Galway. 2022.

Halpern BS, Selkoe KA, Micheli F, Kappel CV. Evaluating and ranking the vulnerability of global marine ecosystems to anthropogenic threats, Conservation Biology, 21(5): 1301–1315, 2007.
doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2007.00752.x

Heck Jr KL., Wetstone GS. Habitat complexity and invertebrate species richness and abundance in tropical seagrass meadows, Journal of Biogeography, 4: 135–142, 1977.
doi: 10.2307/3038158

Heip C. A new index measuring evenness, Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK, 54(3): 555–557, 1974.
doi: 10.1017/S0025315400022736

Horta PA, Amancio E, Coimbra CS, Oliveira EC. Considerações sobre a distribuição e origem da flora de macroalgas marinhas brasileiras, Hoehnea, 28(3): 243–265, 2001.

JBRJ (Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro). Flora do Brasil 2020.
URL: Accessed on June 2020

Jesus PBD, Pestana EMDS, Affe HMJ., Rocha DSB, Caires TA, Nunes JMC, Schnadelbach AS. Reproductive morphology and phenological aspects of one morphological variant of Hypnea pseudomusciformis (Gigartinales, Rhodophyta), Acta Botanica Brasilica, 33(1): 67–77, 2019.
doi: 10.1590/0102-33062018abb0247
Johns KA, Emsile MJ, Hoey AS, Osborne K, Jonker MJ, Cheal AJ. Macroalgal feedbacks and substrate properties maintain a coral reef regime shift, Ecosphere, 9(7):e02349, 2018.
doi: 0.1002/ecs2.2349

Jost L. Entropy and diversity, Oikos, 113(2): 363–375, 2006.
doi: 10.1111/j.2006.0030-1299.14714.x

Kohn AJ, Leviten PJ. Effect of habitat complexity on population density and species richness in tropical intertidal predatory gastropod assemblages, Oecologia, 25(3): 199–210, 1976.
doi: 10.1007/BF00345098

Leão ZMAN, Kikuchi RKP, Maia MP, Lago RAL. A catastrophic coral cover decline since 3000 years BP, Northern Bahia, Brazil. In: H.A. Lessios and I.G. Macintyre (eds.) Proceedings of the 8th International Coral Reef Symposium. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panamá, 1997, 583–588.

Leigh EG, Paine RT, Quinn JF, Suchanek TH. Wave energy and intertidal productivity, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 84(5): 1314–1318, 1987.
doi: 10.1073/pnas.84.5.1314

Littler MM, Littler DS. Relationships between macroalgal functional form groups and substrata stability in a subtropical rocky-intertidal system, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 74(1): 13–34, 1984.
doi: 10.1016/0022-0981(84)90035-2

Littler MM, Taylor, PR, Littler DS, Sims RH, Norris JN. Dominant macrophyte standing stocks, productivity and community structure on a Belizean barrier-reef, Atoll Research Bulletin, 302: 1–24, 1987.
doi: 10.5479/si.00775630.302.1

Lobban CS, Harrison PJ. Seaweed ecology and physiology, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge-New York-Oakleigh, 1994.
Lucio M, Nunes JMC. Aportación al conocimiento fenológico de las rodofíceas marinas de la playa de Guarajuba (Camaçari, Bahia) Brasil, Botanica Complutensis, 26: 17–34, 2002.

Lyra GM, dos Santos AC, Nunes JMC. Rodofíceas bentônicas das Praias da Concha e Engenhoca, município de Itacaré Bahia, Brasil, Acta Botanica Malacitana, 32: 234–240. 2007.
doi: 10.24310/abm.v32i0.7043

MacArthur RH, MacArthur JW, Preer J. On bird species diversity. II. Prediction of bird census from habitat measurements, The American Naturalist, 96(888): 167–174, 1962.
doi: 10.1086/282219

Marins BV, Brasileiro PS, de Barros Barreto MB, Nunes JMC, Yoneshigue-Valentin Y, Amado- Filho GM. Subtidal benthic marine algae of the Todos os Santos bay, Bahia State, Brazil, Oecologia Brasiliensis, 12(2): 5, 2008.
doi: 10.4257/oeco.2008.1202.05

Martins CDL, Arantes N, Faveri C, Batista MB, Oliveira EC, Pagliosa PR., Fonseca AL, Nunes JMC, Chow F, Pereira SB, Horta PA. The impact of coastal urbanization on the structure of phytobenthic communities in southern Brazil, Marine Pollution Bulletin, 64(4): 772–561, 2012.
doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2012.01.031

Marx J, Herrnkind W. Factors regulating microhabitat use by young juvenile spiny lobsters, Panulirus argus: food and shelter, Journal of crustacean biology, 5(4): 650–657, 1985.
doi: 10.2307/1548242

Masunari, S. Ecologia das comunidades fitais. Simpósio sobre ecossistemas da Costa Sul e Sudeste Brasileira, Cananéia-SP, 1987.

Moore JW. Importance of algae in the diet of the oligochaetes Lumbriculus variegatus (Müller) and Rhyacodrilus sodalis (Eisen), Oecologia, 35(3): 357–363, 1978.
doi: 10.1007/BF00345142

Moraes, SS. Interpretações da hidrodinâmica e dos tipos de transporte a partir de análises sedimentológicas e do estudo dos foraminíferos recentes dos recifes costeiros da Praia do Forte e de Itacimirim, litoral norte do Estado da Bahia, Master’s dissertation, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, Brazil. 2001.

Moraes SS, Machado AJ. Influence of hydrodynamic patterns on foraminifera in reef sediment sat the Praia do Forte beach and Itacimirim, Bahia, Brazil, Anuario do Instituto de Geociências, 29: 563–564, 2006.
doi: 10.11137/2006_1_563-564

Morrissey J. Community structure and zonation of microalgae and hermatypic corals on a fringing reef flat of magnetic island (Queensland, Australia), Aquatic Botany, 8: 91–139, 1980.
doi: 10.1016/0304-3770(80)90045-5

Muñoz AOM, Pereira SMB. Caracterização quali-quantitativa das comunidades de macroalgas nas formações recifais da Praia do Cupe-Pernambuco (Brasil), Trabalhos Oceanográficos da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, 25: 93–109, 1997.
doi: 10.5914/tropocean.v25i1.2731

Nolasco, MC. Carbonatic constructions of the northeast coast of the state of Bahia, Master’s Dissertation, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, Brazil. 1988.

Nunes JMC. Taxonomia morfológica: metodologia de trabalho, In: Macroalgas: uma introdução à sua taxonomia. Pedrini AG (Ed.), Technical Books Editora, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 54–70, 2010.

Nunes JMC, Guimarães SMP. Morfología y taxonomía de Scinaia halliae (Scinaiaceae, Rhodophyta) en el litoral de Bahia y Espírito Santo, Brasil, Revista de biología marina y oceanografía, 45(1): 159–164, 2010.
doi: 10.4067/S0718-19572010000100017

Nunes JMC, Matos MRB. Litoral norte da Bahia: caracterização ambiental, biodiversidade e conservação, EDUFBA, Salvador, Brazil 2017.
Nunes JMC, Paula EJ. O gênero Dictyota Lamouroux (Dictyotaceae-Phaoephyta) no litoral do Estado da Bahia, Brasil, Acta Botanica Malacitana, 26: 5–18, 2001.
doi: 10.24310/abm.v26i0.7375

Nunes JMC, Paula, EJ. Composição e distribuição das Phaeophyta nos recifes da região metropolitana de Salvador, Bahia, Brasil, Iheringia Serie Botânica, 57(1): 113–130, 2002.

Norris JN, Johansen HW. Articulated coralline algae of the Gulf of California, Mexico, I: Amphiroa Lamouroux, Smithsonian contributions to the marine sciences, 1981.
doi: 10.5479/si.1943667X.9.1

Oksanen FJ, Blanchet FG, Friendly M, Kindt R, Legendre P, McGlinn D, Minchin PR, O´Hara RB, Simpson GL, Solymos P, … & Wagner HH. Vegan: Community Ecology Package (R package Version 2.5-6, 2019).

Oliveira-Carvalho MD, Pereira SMB, Zickel CS. Florística e distribuição espaço-temporal das clorofíceas bentônicas em trechos recifais do litoral norte do estado de Pernambuco-Brasil, Hoehnea, 30(3): 201–212, 2003.

Ramos RJ, Travassos MP, Leite GR. Characterization of macrofauna associated with articulated calcareous algae (Corallinaceae, Rhodophyta) occurring in a hydrodynamic gradient on the Espírito Santo state coast, Brazil, Brazilian Journal of Oceanography, 58(4): 275–285, 2010.
doi: 10.1590/S1679-87592010000400003

Reis RP, Yoneshigue-Valentin Y. Variação espaço-temporal de populações de Hypnea musciformis (Rhodophyta, Gigartinales) na Baía de Sepetiba e Armação dos Búzios, RJ, Brasil, Acta Botanica Brasilica, 12(3): 465–483, 1998.
doi: 10.1590/S0102-33061998000400015

Roberts, DW. Labdsv: ordination and multivariate analysis for ecology (R package version 2.0-1, 2019).

Rodrigues CL, Caeiro S, Raikar SV. Marine macrophyte communities on the reef flat at Agatti atoll (Lakshadweep, India), Botanica Marina, 40(1-6): 557–568, 1997.
doi: 10.1515/botm.1997.40.1-6.557

Schenkman RPF. Hypnea musciformis (Rhodophyta): ecological influence on growth, Journal of Applied Phycology, 25: 192–196, 1989.
doi: 10.1111/j.0022-3646.1989.00192

Ferreira SMC et al. 53 Scherner F, Horta PA, de Oliveira EC, Simonassi JC, Hall-Spencer JM, Chow F, Pereira SMB. Coastal urbanization leads to remarkable seaweed species loss and community shifts along the SW Atlantic, Marine pollution bulletin, 76(1-2): 106–115, 2013.
doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.09.019

Schoener TW. Resource partitioning in ecological communities. Science, 185(4145): 27–39, 1974.
doi: 10.1126/science.185.4145.27

SEI (Superintendência de Estudos Econômicos e sociais da Bahia). Análise dos atributos climáticos do estado da Bahia, Série estudos e pesquisas, 38, SEI, Salvador, 1998.

Shannon CE, Weaver W. The Mathematical Theory of Information, University of Illinois Press, Urbana, USA 1949.

Soares MO, Teixeira CEP, Bezerra LEA, Paiva SV, Tavares TCL, Garcia TM, Araújo JT, Ferreira SM, Campos CC, … & Cavalcante RM. Oil spill in South Atlantic (Brazil): environmental and governmental disaster. Marine Policy, 115: 103879, 2020.
doi: 10.1016/j.marpol.2020.103879

Sousa WP. Experimental investigations of disturbance and ecological succession in a rocky intertidal algal community, Ecological Monographs, 49(3): 227–254, 1979.
doi: 10.2307/1942484

Steneck RS, Dethier MN. A functional group approach to the structure of algal-dominated communities, Oikos, 69: 476–498, 1994.
doi: 10.2307/3545860

Széchy MTM, Paula EJD. Padrões estruturais quantitativos de bancos de Sargassum (Phaeophyta, Fucales) do litoral dos estados do Rio de Janeiro e São Paulo, Brasil, Brazilian Journal of Botany, 23(2): 121–132, 2000.
doi: 10.1590/S0100-84042000000200002

Taouil A, Yoneshigue-Valentin Y. Alterações na composição florística das algas da Praia de Boa Viagem (Niterói, RJ), Brazilian Journal of Botany, 25(4): 405–412. 2002.
doi: 10.1590/S0100-84042002012000004

Tararam AS, Leite FPP, Wakabara Y. Vertical distribution of amphipods living on algae of a Brazilian intertidal rocky shore, Crustaceana, 51(2): 183–187, 1986.
doi: 0.1163/156854086X00665

Vasconcelos ERTPP, Vasconcelos JB, Reis TNV, Cocentino ALM, Mallea AJA, Martins GM, Neto AI, Fujii MT. Macroalgal responses to coastal urbanization: relative abundance of indicator species, Journal of Applied Phycology, 31: 893–903, 2019.
doi: 10.1007/s10811-018-1639-3

Villaça R, Fonseca AC, Jensen VK, Knoppers B. Species composition and distribution of macroalgae on Atol das Rocas, Brazil, SW Atlantic, Botanica Marina, 53(2): 113–122, 2010.
doi: 10.1515/BOT.2010.013

Villaça R, Yoneshigue-Valentin Y, Boudouresque CF. Estrutura da comunidade de macroalgas do infralitoral do lado exposto da Ilha de Cabo Frio (Arraial do Cabo, RJ), Oecologia Brasiliensis, 12(2): 206–221, 2008.
doi: 10.4257/oeco.2008.1202.03
How to Cite
César Ferreira, S. de M., Assumpção Lolis, L. ., Barbosa Noga, P. M. ., de Jesus Affe, H. M., & de Castro Nunes, J. M. . (2022). A highly diverse phytobenthic community along a short coastal reef gradient in northeastern Brazil. Universitas Scientiarum, 27(1), 34–56.
Marine Biology, Oceanography, Ecology