Wagner da Costa Moreira

Université du Québec à Montréal
Ph.D. candidate

Supervisor: Pedro Peres-Neto
Nigel Lester, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
Start: 2012-01-09
End: 2016-01-11


Quantitative Frameworks to Improve the Analyses of Ecological Communities.
Local communities consist of species that are subsets of those that exist in the larger regional species pools of the landscapes in which they occur (Leibold et al. 2004). What factors determine which subsets are selected to co-exist in which sites? Although the selection processes are many, and they interact with each other, they have two key elements: regional processes that regulate the arrival of organisms into the various local communities (regional); and local processes that regulate the success of species following either their own arrival or the arrival of other species (local). Spatial modeling frameworks are critical approaches to study biodiversity patterns (Dormann et al. 2007) as they serve to identify the set of abiotic and biotic processes that define how species are selected into local communities. Although spatial ecology has provided many insights into biodiversity, the spatial models of biodiversity have long been considered to predict patterns that are much simpler than we tipically observe (Cotennie 2005). This is likely to the complex ways in which species characteristics (traits and evolutionary history) and their local and regional environments interact. Here I propose that advancement can be achieved by formalizing the links and interplays between the ecological (traits) or evolutionary (phylogenetic history) attributes of species, and local environment and the spatial heterogeneity across the sites of species assemblages. My project will be based on two critical current shortcomings related to past and current research in community ecology that could be effectively addressed by appropriate analytical frameworks: 1) Quantify and elucidate the roles and interactions between local environment and landscape connectivity in determining community trait/phylogenetic composition and diversity – I will design a set of statistical frameworks that decomposes the total trait and phylogenetic variation into a mean (compositional) and a variance (dispersion) component that are subsequently linked to local environmental and regional spatial variation. The main goal of these frameworks will be to provide a way to think about how niche properties of species arranged across the environment and different spatial scales influence the process of community assembly; 2) Create a framework for joint-scale analysis. Negative and positive spatial autocorrelated processes may generate opposed patterns that jointly cancel each other out, reducing spatial patterning and analytical performance of models for assessing processes driving patterns of community assemblage. I will develop a modeling technique to determine at which spatial scales community composition, environment, spatial connectivity, traits and phylogenetic relationships are determined and how they differ across scales (i.e., a joint scale-analyses across these matrices) and types of autocorrelation (negative and positive). The framework will allow us to relate the spatial and non-spatial components of variation in ecological communities. I will use extensive computer simulations of community assembly to show that the proposed frameworks are robust under a variety of scenarios and review a number of existent data sets in a meta-analytical framework to test particular ecological hypothesis using developed frameworks.


Redundancy Analysis, Variation Partitioning, Gradient analysis, species distribution models


1- Seasonal variation in the chemical composition of two tropical seaweeds
Marinho-Soriano, E., P.C. Fonseca, M.A.A. Carneiro, W.S.C. Moreira
2006 Bioresource Technology

2- Some Aspects of the Growth of Gracilaria birdiae (Gracilariales, Rhodophyta) in an Estuary in Northeast Brazil
E., Marinho-Soriano, Moreira W.S.C., Carneiro M.A.A.
2006 Aquaculture International

3- Cultivation of Gracilaria (Rhodophyta) in shrimp pond effluents in Brazil
Marinho-Soriano, E, C Morales, W S C Moreira
2002 Aquaculture Research

4- Seasonal variation in the biomass and agar yield from Gracilaria cervicornis and Hydropuntia cornea from Brazil
Marinho-Soriano, E., T.S.F. Silva, W.S.C. Moreira
2001 Bioresource Technology