Megabenthic communities of the Ligurian deep continental shelf and shelf break (NW Mediterranean Sea)


Autoři: Francesco Enrichetti aff001;  Carlos Dominguez-Carrió aff002;  Margherita Toma aff001;  Giorgio Bavestrello aff001;  Federico Betti aff001;  Simonepietro Canese aff004;  Marzia Bo aff001
Působiště autorů: Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, dell'Ambiente e della Vita, Università degli Studi di Genova, Genova, Italy aff001;  Okeanos Research Centre, Universidade dos Açores, Departamento de Oceanografia e Pesca, Horta, Portugal aff002;  IMAR Instituto do Mar, Universidade dos Açores, Departamento de Oceanografia e Pesca, Horta, Portugal aff003;  Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale, Roma, Italy aff004
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(10)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0223949

Souhrn

The Ligurian Sea is one of the most studied Mediterranean basins. Since the beginning of the last century, many research expeditions have characterized its benthic and pelagic fauna through scuba diving and trawl surveys. However, a large knowledge gap exists about the composition of benthic communities extending into the so-called mesophotic or twilight depth range, currently under intense pressure from commercial and recreational fishing. A series of visual surveys, carried out by means of remotely operated vehicles between 2012 and 2018, were conducted along the Ligurian deep continental shelf and shelf break, between 30 and 210 m depth, in order to characterize the main benthic biocoenoses dwelling at this depth range and to determine the most relevant environmental factors that explain their spatial distribution. Deep circalittoral communities of the Ligurian Sea were represented by a mixture of species belonging to the deepest extension of shallow-water habitats and deep circalittoral ones. Twelve major biocoenoses were identified, each one characterized by specific preferences in depth range, substrate type and seabed slope. Those biocoenoses included gorgonian and hydrozoan forests, dense keratose sponge grounds, Dendrophyllia cornigera gardens, bryozoan beds and soft-bottom meadows of sabellid polychaetes and soft-corals. Other less common aggregations included six forests of black corals and two populations of Paramuricea macrospina. A georeferenced database has been created in order to provide information to managers and stakeholders about the location of the identified communities and high-diversity areas, aiming to facilitate sustainable long-term conservation of the Ligurian benthic ecosystem.

Klíčová slova:

Biodiversity – Corals – Forests – Geographic distribution – Species diversity – Sponges – Mediterranean Sea – Large animals


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PLOS One


2019 Číslo 10