Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation
Nat Con 2016;14:137-41 DOI: 10.1016/j.ncon.2016.06.002
Policy Forums
Environmental licensing on rhodolith beds: insights from a worm
Cinthya Simone Gomes Santosa, Jaqueline Barreto Linob, Priscila de Cerqueira Verasb,c, Gilberto Menezes Amado-Filhod, Ronaldo Bastos Francini-Filhoe, Fabio Santos Mottab, Rodrigo Leão de Mouraf, Guilherme Henrique Pereira-Filhob,,
a Department of Marine Biology, Institute of Biology, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, RJ, Brazil
b Instituto do Mar, Laboratory of Marine Ecology and Conservation, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Santos, SP, Brazil
c Center for Natural and Human Sciences, Universidade Federal do ABC, São Bernardo do Campo, SP, Brazil
d Instituto de Pesquisas Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
e Department of Engineering and Environment, Universidade Federal da Paraíba, Rio Tinto, PB, Brazil
f Institute of Biology, Laboratório de Sistemas Avançados de Gestão da Produção (SAGE), Instituto Alberto Luiz Coimbra de Pós-Graduação e Pesquisa de Engenharia (COPPE), Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
Received 12 January 2016, Accepted 07 June 2016

Rhodoliths are free-living nodules formed by crustose coralline algae that promote multi-dimensional microhabitats for a highly diverse community. Because their CaCO3 production, rhodolith beds constitute areas of interest for mining activities. On the other hand, other goods and services provided by these environments such as nurseries habitats, fishing and climate regulation remain undersized. Besides directly CaCO3 exploitation, these diverse ecosystems within the Brazilian economic exclusive zone are often covering potentially sites for oil and gas extraction. The IBAMA (Environmental Agency of the Brazilian government) have been applying the precautionary principle to deny requests for oil/gas drilling activities where rhodolith beds occur. Here, we discuss recent data about diversity associated with rhodoliths and also record the “rare” worm Nuchalosyllis cf. maiteae. More than the distribution of one only species, our finding is an emblematic example of our infancy knowledge state about diversity associated with rhodolith beds in southwestern Atlantic. We argue that these knowledge is still insufficient to subside any attempt in classify priorities areas for oil wells drilling. In addition, we claim that the precautionary principle adopted by IBAMA must prevalence until we have robust data allowing predictions concerning higher or lower biodiversity associated with rhodolith beds.

Marine diversity, Maerl, Mesophotic reefs, Crustose coralline algae