MEPS 566:31-48 (2017)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12002

Spatial persistence of megazoobenthic assemblages in the Adriatic Sea

A. Santelli1,*, I. Cvitković2, M. Despalatović2, G. Fabi1, F. Grati1, B. Marčeta3, E. Punzo1, S. Raicevich1,4, P. Strafella1, A. Spagnolo1, A. N. Tassetti1, G. Scarcella1

1ISMAR-CNR - Institute of Marine Sciences, National Research Council, 60125 Ancona, Italy
2IOF - Institut za Oceanografiju i Ribarstvo, 21000 Split, Croatia
3FRIS - Fisheries Research Institute of Slovenia, 1211 Ljubljana-Šmartno, Slovenia
4ISPRA - Italian National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research, 30015 Chioggia, Italy
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The Adriatic Sea plays a central role in the economies of both European and non-European countries. As such, it is subject to impacts from a large number of human activities, including fishing. In a basin characterized by high biodiversity and complex ecosystem processes, such as the Adriatic Sea, habitat conservation and protection measures rely on detailed information on the composition and structure of benthic assemblages. The present study describes the composition, spatial distribution and persistence of invertebrate megazoobenthic assemblages in the Adriatic Sea. Samples were collected during rapido trawl surveys performed from 2007 to 2012. A total of 4 main megazoobenthic assemblages were identified and were designated as A, B, C and D. Group A assemblages were detected in the northern and central offshore area, Group B assemblages occupied the northernmost part of the basin, Group C assemblages were predominantly found along the western coast and Group D assemblages were detected in the deepest parts of the northern and central basin. A degree of spatial overlap in the northern Adriatic was probably due to the physical and chemical characteristics of the area, which is characterized by strong river runoff, hence by changes in sediment composition from sandy mud to muddy sand. The present findings may help to devise integrated management strategies of fishing activities, especially trawling, in view of the implementation of the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management, and may help to define some descriptors of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.


KEY WORDS: Megafauna · Adriatic Sea · Persistence · Distribution · Fisheries management · Fish ecology · Marine Strategy Framework Directive · Habitat


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Cite this article as: Santelli A, Cvitković I, Despalatović M, Fabi G and others (2017) Spatial persistence of megazoobenthic assemblages in the Adriatic Sea. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 566:31-48. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12002

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