Caio Alves de Moraes


The focus of my work is to develop a paleoenvironmental reconstruction identifying changes in the Atlantic forest area, mainly influenced by climate changes, and in mangrove vegetation distribution, which is mainly influenced by sea-level changes, during the Late Quaternary along northeastern Brazilian coastal plain/plateau. The applied technique use multi-proxies analysis as palynology, sedimentology description, radiocarbon dating and stable isotope data (C and N) in sediment cores.

PhD Project:


The Late glacial, the transition from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to the Holocene is the key period for understanding the mechanisms of abrupt climate change. It is also common to relate the last glacial maximum as one of the main drivers of forest-related vicariance and patterns of genetic diversity in the tropics. The dynamics of vegetation as a good indicator of climate change is often used in many parts around the world. In Brazil, the Atlantic Forest occurs as a very dynamic biome capable of responding quickly to climatic changes, providing important paleoclimate records in South America during the Quaternary. In relation to the Brazilian coast, mangrove forests have been significantly influenced by the fluctuations of the Relative Sea Level (RSL) and Climate Changes, since the evolutionary development of this area is affected by complex interactions involving tidal flood frequency gradients, nutrient availability, concentration of salts in the sediments through the intermarine area and the contribution of sediments and fresh water. This ecosystem is highly adaptable, with plants tolerant to extreme environmental conditions. This adaptability allowed mangroves to withstand environmental changes throughout the Holocene and become a marker of great importance for the scientific analysis of coastal change, but changes in sea level during the Holocene along the north, northeast and southeast coasts of Brazil are still open questions for debate. Three sampling points will be used along the coastal plain and plateaus to develop this study. One point is located in the north of the State of Maranhão, the second site is found in the center portion of State of Pernambuco and another in the eastern part of State of Bahia. Soil sedimentation will be collected in the lakes and river floodplain using Russian Sample, where these samples will be characterized by their pollen grains, charcoal, sedimentary characteristics, XRF scanning and radiocarbon dating in sedimentary organic matter. Through these data, it is expected to be possible to identify changes in the distribution of the Atlantic Forest area, mainly influenced by climate changes, and in the distribution of mangrove vegetation, which is influenced mainly by changes in sea level and climate changes during the period post-glacial conditions along the Brazilian coastal plain/plateau.

PhD project funded by: Scholarship from Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico – CNPq
Duration: 01.07.2018 – 30.06.2022
PhD supervisors:
Prof. Dr. Hermann Behling
Prof. Dr. Erwin Bergmeier
Prof. Dr. Daniela Sauer