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Meso-scale variability of coastal suprabenthic communities in the southern Tyrrhenian Sea (western Mediterranean)

AuthorsFanelli, Emanuela ; Cartes, Joan Enric ; Badalamenti, F.; D'Anna, G.; Pipitone, C.; Azzurro, Ernesto ; Rumolo, P.; Sprovieri, M.
Spatial variability
Assemblage structure
Table isotopes
Trawl ban
Issue DateFeb-2011
CitationEstuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 91(3): 351-360 (2011)
AbstractMeso-scale spatial variability of coastal suprabenthic communities inhabiting muddy bottoms at 50–80 m depth in three gulfs of northern Sicily (Western Mediterranean) was here investigated. Although similar as concerns the hydrological and oceanographic conditions, the three areas, that encompass a large portion of the continental shelf (135 km), are characterized by different geo-morphological features. In addition, they are subjected to different trawl fishery pressures. The Gulf of Castellammare is a semi-enclosed bay, where the trawling activity has been banned since 1990. The Gulf of Termini Imerese and the Gulf of Sant’Agata are open areas, subjected to high trawl fishing intensity. In terms of density, gammarid amphipods showed differences among the three gulfs; in terms of biomass, cumaceans and amphipods were more abundant in the Gulf of Castellammare than in the other two areas. Multivariate analyses provided evidence for separation of suprabenthic assemblages between the Gulf of Castellammare and the other two gulfs. The Gulf of Castellammare seemed to host the most diversified and stable community according to α- and β-diversity indices. In the same way the low value of δ13C vs. δ15N correlation found in the gulf of Castellammare, which evidences the occurrence of several food sources, supports the idea of a higher stability in the semi-enclosed, trawl-ban area. In the other two areas δ13C vs. δ15N correlations were high, suggesting the existence of a pelagic source sustaining the suprabenthic communities. This is also confirmed by the lower δ13C concentrations found in suprabenthic species. Taking into account the homogeneous oceanographic conditions among gulfs, other factors, such as geo-morphology and trawling pressure should be involved in the observed differences among the three areas in terms of assemblage structure, diversity, and trophodynamics of suprabenthic communities.
Description10 pages, 5 figures, 6 tables
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2010.10.026
Appears in Collections:(ICM) Artículos
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