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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 562:19-35 (2016)  -  DOI:

Environmental drivers explain regional variation of changes in fish and invertebrate functional groups across the Mediterranean Sea from 1994 to 2012

Anik Brind’Amour1,*, Marie-Joëlle Rochet1, Francesc Ordines2, Geoffrey R. Hosack3, Olivier Berthelé1, Bastien Mérigot4, Pierluigi Carbonara5, Maria Cristina Follesa6, Angélique Jadaud7, Evgenia Lefkaditou8, Porzia Maiorano9, Panagiota Peristeraki8,10, Alessandro Mannini11, Manuella Rabiller1, Maria Teresa Spedicato5, George Tserpes8, Verena M. Trenkel1

1IFREMER, Unité Ecologie et Modèles pour l’Halieutique, rue de l’Ile d’Yeu, BP 21105, 44311 Nantes cedex 3, France
2Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centre Oceanogràfic de Balears, Moll de Ponent s/n, 07015 Palma de Mallorca, Spain
3CSIRO Marine Laboratories, GPO Box 1538, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
4Université de Montpellier, UMR MARBEC, Station Ifremer, Avenue Jean Monnet, BP 171, 34203 Sète, France
5COISPA Tecnologia & Ricerca, Stazione Sperimentale per lo Studio delle Risorse del Mare, Viadei Trulli, 18/20, 70126 Bari - Torre a Mare, Italy
6Department of Life Science and Environment, University de Cagliari, Via T. Fiorelli, 1, 09126 Cagliari, Italy
7IFREMER, Laboratoire Halieutique Mediterranée, UMR MARBEC, Avenue Jean Monnet, BP 171, 34203 Sète, France
8Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters, PO BOX 712, 19013 Anavissos, Greece
9Department of Biology, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Via Orabona, 4 - 70125 Bari, Italy
10Biology Department, University of Crete, Heraklion, 71003, Crete, Greece
11University of Genova, Dip. Te. Ris., Viale Benedetto XV, 3 - 16132 Genoa, Italy
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Functional groups are sets of species that play a similar role in a food web. We defined functional groups of fish species based on their morphological characteristics, while using expert knowledge for invertebrates. We measured 9 morphological traits of 72 fish species, and carried out multivariate analyses to assign fish species to functional groups. The analysis identified 9 trait-based fish functional groups to which were added 3 expert-based invertebrate functional groups. The habitat (position in the water column) and potential diet of each group were identified from the literature. Using the MEDITS bottom trawl survey data collected at 10 to 800 m depth, we calculated relative change in the 12 fish and invertebrate functional group biomasses for 12 Mediterranean areas over the period 1994 to 2012. Multiple regression trees identified 4 regions with similar changes: (1) the Adriatic and the Ionian Sea; (2) the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Strait of Sicily; (3) the Balearic Islands and other enclosed areas such as the Gulf of Lions and Aegean Sea; and (4) the Ligurian Sea and Sardinia. The biomass of all functional groups increased or remained stable in the first 2 regions, while around half the functional group biomasses decreased in the other 2 regions. These regional differences in functional group biomass changes were mainly associated with regional variations in the time trends of bottom water temperature (37%), bottom water dissolved oxygen (23%) and mean catch levels (9%). This study contributes to the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive by proposing food web indicators based on morphologically and habitat defined functional groups.

KEY WORDS: Morphological traits · Community models · Functional network · Functional groups · Mediterranean Sea · Temporal trends · Fish · Shellfish

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Cite this article as: Brind’Amour A, Rochet MJ, Ordines F, Hosack GR and others (2016) Environmental drivers explain regional variation of changes in fish and invertebrate functional groups across the Mediterranean Sea from 1994 to 2012. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 562:19-35.

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