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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 652:77-94 (2020)  -  DOI:

Pinna nobilis in the Mar Menor coastal lagoon: a story of colonization and uncertainty

F. Giménez-Casalduero1, F. Gomariz-Castillo2,3,*, F. Alonso-Sarría3, E. Cortés4, A. Izquierdo-Muñoz5, A. A. Ramos-Esplá1,5

1Department of Marine Science and Applied Biology, University of Alicante, 03080 Alicante, Spain
2Euro-Mediterranean Water Institute, 30100 Murcia, Spain
3Institute of Water and Environment, University of Murcia, 30100 Murcia, Spain
4Acuario de la Universidad de Murcia, 30002 Murcia, Spain
5Marine Research Centre of Santa Pola, University of Alicante, 03080 Alicante, Spain
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Populations of the Mediterranean fan mussel Pinna nobilis have progressively decreased over the last decades as a result of anthropogenic activities. The rate of decline has strongly increased since 2016, when a mass mortality event triggered by the parasite Haplosporidium pinnae occurred, and evidence exists that Mycobacterium species may also have played a major role in the event. Indeed, the epidemic has spread throughout the Mediterranean, although coastal lagoons seem to offer a degree of ‘resistance’ against the parasite. In the early 1980s, P. nobilis appeared in the Mar Menor lagoon and rapidly became an important component of the benthos. However, colonization of the lagoon by the fan mussel was cut short in 2016 when a massive mortality event occurred, possibly as a consequence of the environmental collapse that occurred in the lagoon, parallel to the mortality that the species suffered in the Mediterranean that same year. In this study, we estimated the spatial distribution of P. nobilis in the Mar Menor for 3 periods: 2003-2004, 2013 and 2016. The first 2 periods use published data, and the last period uses data collected in a new campaign. The probability of occurrence for the 3 periods was estimated using random forest and random forest regression-kriging models. The main environmental variables that determined the dispersion and colonization of the bivalve in the lagoon before 2016 are also identified.

KEY WORDS: Coastal lagoon · Pinna nobilis · Hypersalinity · Species distribution model · SDM · Machine learning · Random forest

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Cite this article as: Giménez-Casalduero F, Gomariz-Castillo F, Alonso-Sarría F, Cortés E, Izquierdo-Muñoz A, Ramos-Esplá AA (2020) Pinna nobilis in the Mar Menor coastal lagoon: a story of colonization and uncertainty. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 652:77-94.

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