Brazilian southeast, polychaetes, restricted beach, seasonality, unrestricted beach


About 75% of the world’s shoreline is composed of beach environments. Among them, the sandy beach is a familiar environment and used for tourism and recreation. The organisms that live in these environments, as polychaetes, crustaceans and mollusks, are almost unknown by people because they live buried. Thus, many time people could cause damage to these organisms without their own knowledge. Trampling is one of the human-induced impacts to those organisms, destroying their bodies or even dispelling them. Focused on this behavior, this research aims to simulate trampling on two sandy beaches and to observe a real scenario of recreation on weekends and during the week during summer and winter seasons in the Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil. This study verified the changes occurring mainly in the faunal density of these two beaches with different intensities of use, in the predefined situations. Samples were collected during four months, on the second half of year, using simulated treatments and in another two months simple observation of the behavior of tourists was also performed. The simulated treatments did not cause significant changes in any collection except two. One of them was possibly a sampling artifact, which may be due to a low level of impact. The samples on the winter months also did not show significant changes, but the summer samples showed a large decrease in density of organisms during the weekend compared to during the week, probably related to the high intensity of human activity. As this study aimed to verify changes or impacts in organisms at up to 20 cm of depth, we concluded that only high impact activities could affect drastically the faunal density, as observed during the summer season at weekends on the study.

Author Biography

Rafael dos Santos Reis, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro

Departamento de Zoologia, IBRAG, UERJ. Pós-Graduação em Sistemas Aquáticos Tropicais, UESC.


Blankensteyn, A. 2006. O uso do caranguejo maria-farinha Ocypode quadrata (Fabricius) (Crustacea, Ocypodidae) como indicador de impactos antropogênicos em praias arenosas da Ilha de Santa Catarina, Santa Catarina, Brasil. Revista Brasileira de Zoologia, 23(3), 870–876. DOI: 10.1590/S0101-81752006000300034

Cardoso, R. S., Barbosa, C. A. M., Skinner, V. B., & Cabrini, T.M. B. 2016. Crustaceans as ecological indicators of sandy beaches health. Ecological Indicators, 62, 154–162. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.11.039

Cardoso, R. S., Mattos, G., Caetano, C., & Cabrini, T. M. B. 2011. Effects of environmental gradients on sandy beach macrofauna of a semi-enclosed bay. Marine Ecology, 33, 106–116. DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0485.2011.00457.x.

Cardoso, R. S., & Veloso, V. G. 1997. Estratégia amostral para caracterização da macrofauna da região entre-marés em três praias arenosas expostas do estado do Rio de Janeiro. Oecologia Brasiliensis, 3, 171–182.

Defeo, O., Cardoso, R. S. 2004. Latitudinal patterns in abundance and life-history traits of the mole crab Emerita brasiliensis on South American sandy beaches. Diversity and Distributions, 10, 89-98. DOI: 10.1111/j.1366-9516.2004.00070.x

Defeo, O., Gomez, J., & Lercari, D. 2001. Testing the swash exclusion hypothesis in sandy beach populations: the mole crab Emerita brasiliensis in Uruguay. Marine Ecology, Progress Series (Halstenbek), 212, 159–170. DOI: 10.3354/meps212159.

Defeo, O., & Mclachlan, A. 2005. Patterns, processes and regulatory mechanisms in sandy beach macrofauna: a multi-scale analysis. Marine Ecology. Progress Series (Halstenbek), 295, 1–20. DOI: 10.3354/meps295001.

Defeo, O., Mclachlan, A., Schoeman, D. S., Schlacher, T. A., Dugan, J., Jones, A., Lastra, M., & Scapini, F. 2009. Threats to sandy beach ecosystems: A review. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 81, 1–12. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2008.09.022.

Di Domenico, M., Martínez, A., Almeida, T. C. M., Martins, M. O., Worsaae, K., & Lana, P. C. 2015. Response of the meiofaunal annelid Saccocirrus pussicus (Saccocirridae) to sandy beach morphodynamics. Hydrobiologia (The Hague Print), 31, 250–276. DOI: 10.1007/s10750-014-1858-9.

Eutrópio, F. J., Sá, F. S., & Sá, H. S. 2006. Ecologia populacional de Emerita brasiliensis Schmitt, 1935 (Crustacea, Hippidae) de um trecho da praia de Itapoã, Vila Velha, Espírito Santo, Brasil. Natureza on line, 4(2), 67–71.

Garrison, T. 2007. Oceanography: An Invitation to Marine Science. 6th edition. Belmont.

Gheskiere, T., Vincx, M., Weslawski, J. M., Scapini, F., & Degraer, S. 2005. Meiofauna as descriptor of tourism-induced changes at sandy beaches. Marine Environmental Research, 60(2), 245–265. DOI: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2004.10.006.

Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística – IBGE. 2011. Atlas geográfico das zonas costeiras e oceânicas do Brasil. Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.

Instituto Estadual do Ambiente – INEA, 2012. Histórico dos Boletins Semanais das Praias da Barra e Zona sul. Retrieved on 2013, from

Kotwicki, L., Troch, M., Urban-Malinga, B., Gheskiere, T., & Węsławski, J.M. 2005. Horizontal and vertical distribution of meiofauna on sandy beaches of the North Sea (The Netherlands, Belgium, France). Helgoland Marine Research, 59, 255–264. DOI: 10.1007/s10152-005-0001-8

Lucrezi, S., Schlacher, T. A., & Robinson, W. 2009. Human disturbance as a cause of bias in ecological indicators for sandy beaches: Experimental evidence for the effects of human trampling on ghost crab (Ocypode spp.). Ecological Indicators, 9, 913–921. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2008.10.013

Machado, P. M, Suciu, M. C., Costa, L. L., Tavares, D. C., & Zalmon, I. R. 2017. Tourism Impacts on benthic communities of sandy beaches. Marine Ecology, 38, 1–11. DOI: 10.1111/maec.12440

Moffett, M. D., McLachlan, A., Winter, P. E. D., & De Ruyck, A. M. C. 1998. Impact of trampling on sandy beach macrofauna. Journal of Coastal Conservation 4, 87–90. DOI: 10.1007/BF02806494

Neves, L. P., Silva, P. N., & Bemvenuti, C.E. 2008. Temporal variability of benthic macrofauna on Cassino beach, southernmost Brazil. Iheringia, Série Zoologia, Porto Alegre, 98(1), 36–44. DOI: 10.1590/S0073-47212008000100005

Omena, E. P., Lavrado, H. P., Paranhos, R., & Silva, T. A. 2012. Spatial distribution of intertidal sandy beach polychaeta along an estuarine and morphodynamic gradient in an eutrophic tropical bay. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 64, 1861–1873. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2012.06.009

Rizzo, A. E., & Amaral, A. C. Z. 2001. Environmental variables and intertidal beach annelids of São Sebastião Channel (State of São Paulo, Brazil). Revista de Biología Tropical, Costa Rica, 49(3), 849–857.

Schlacher, T. A. 2007. Vehicles versus conservation of invertebrates on sandy beaches: mortalities inflicted by off-road vehicles on ghost crabs. Marine Ecology, 28, 354–367. DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0485.2007.00156.x

Silva, I. R., Nascimento, H. M., & Rebouças, R. C. 2009. Oceanography: An Invitation to Marine Science. Geociências, 28(2), 193–201.

Veloso, V. G.; & Cardoso, R. S. 1999. Population biology of the mole crab Emerita brasiliensis (Decapoda: Hippidae) at Fora Beach, Brazil. Journal of Crustacean Biology, 19, 147–153. DOI: 10.1163/193724099X00349

Veloso, V. G., & Cardoso, R. S. 2001. The Effect of Morphodynamics on the Spatial and Temporal Variation of the Macrofauna of Three Sandy Beaches on the Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 81, 369–375. DOI: 10.1017/S0025315401003976

Veloso, V. G., Cardoso, R. S., & Petracco, M. 2003. Secondary production on the intertidal macrofauna of Prainha Beach, Brazil. Journal of Coastal Research, Rio de Janeiro, 35, 385–391.

Veloso, V. G., Silva, E. S., Caetano, C. H. S., & Cardoso, R. S. 2006. Comparison between the macroinfauna of urbanized and protected beaches in Rio de Janeiro State, Brasil. Biological Conservation, 127, 510–515. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2005.09.027

Wright, L. D., & Short, A. D. 1984. Morphodynamic variability of beaches and surf zones, a synthesis. Marine Geology, 56, 92–118. DOI: 10.1016/0025-3227(84)90008-2