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Evidences of human impact on megabenthic assemblages of bathyal sediments in the Alboran Sea (western Mediterranean)

AuthorsGrinyó, Jordi ; Lo Iacono, Claudio ; Pierdomenico, Martina; Conlon, Suzanne; Corbera, Guillem; Gràcia, Eulàlia
KeywordsMediterranean sea
Vulnerable marine ecosystems
Soft sediments
Bottom trawling
Marine litter
Issue DateNov-2020
PublisherPergamon Press
CitationDeep Sea Research - Part I - Oceanographic Research Papers 165: 103369 (2020)
AbstractMegabenthic assemblages in deep-sea sedimentary environments receive far less attention than those occurring on rocky environments, despite they have been widely impacted by destructive trawling activities, mainly due to their association with important commercial species. ROV dives conducted on bathyal muds of the Alboran Sea continental slope (western Mediterranean) were used to characterize megabenthic assemblages, as well as assess their response to trawling and benthic litter. We identified a multispecific assemblage, dominated by the isidid Isidella elongata, and two monospecific assemblages composed by the sea-pens Funiculina quadrangularis and Kophobelemnon stelliferum. These assemblages are defined as vulnerable marine ecosystems by international institutions. Trawled areas exhibit significant low densities of habitat-forming species and a striking impoverishment of habitat complexity and diversity. Plastic debris and lost fishing gears were the most abundant components of the marine litter. This study highlights the destructive effects of human activities on bathyal muds, emphasizing the need for urgent conservation measures
Description13 pages, 10 figures, 3 tables
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr.2020.103369
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.dsr.2020.103369
issn: 0967-0637
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