Coastal environments may be impacted by several anthropogenic activities such as sewage discharges, fish-farming and hydrocarbons along with seaside tourism activities, all proved to have an effect on benthic and, particularly, meiobenthic communities. An ecological survey was conducted along Apulian coast (South Italy) to explore potential relationships between the degree of human disturbance and meiobenthic communities that is still unexplored. Sediment samples were collected in triplicate from 3 stations along each of 16 transects and at a different depth gradient. The levels of taxa richness and biodiversity of the meiobenthic and nematode assemblages were overall high. Meiobenthos was found to decrease in abundance and diversity along the depth gradient (from ~ 10 to 50 m) in relation to the increase of the mud fraction. Water Framework Directive and Marine Strategy Framework Directive suggest the creation of specific thresholds to define the EcoQ (Ecological Quality) status of the marine coastal systems. The thresholds applied on meiobenthos showed the worst conditions at the Brindisi harbour and at the mussel farm infrastructure of Castro. An overall moderate impact was detected also at the multiple-use Marine Protect Area of Porto Cesareo, likely due to the overwhelming number of tourist leading to an increase of organic enrichment (sewage discharge) negatively affecting the benthic communities. The main representatives of the nematode assemblages were taxa known as typical of muddy sediments. When EcoQ was assessed with the nematode thresholds, the worst EcoQ was found at T3 (Brindisi Harbour), T9 (Torre Specchia), and T10 (Alimini Lakes). The ecological conditions revealed by meiobenthic and nematode assemblages were generally consistent and seem to highlight a greater alteration of the meiobenthic communities along the Adriatic than the Ionian coasts.

Assessment of ecological quality status along the Apulian coasts (Eastern Mediterranean Sea) based on meiobenthic and nematode assemblages.

Appolloni, L;Sandulli, R
2017

Abstract

Coastal environments may be impacted by several anthropogenic activities such as sewage discharges, fish-farming and hydrocarbons along with seaside tourism activities, all proved to have an effect on benthic and, particularly, meiobenthic communities. An ecological survey was conducted along Apulian coast (South Italy) to explore potential relationships between the degree of human disturbance and meiobenthic communities that is still unexplored. Sediment samples were collected in triplicate from 3 stations along each of 16 transects and at a different depth gradient. The levels of taxa richness and biodiversity of the meiobenthic and nematode assemblages were overall high. Meiobenthos was found to decrease in abundance and diversity along the depth gradient (from ~ 10 to 50 m) in relation to the increase of the mud fraction. Water Framework Directive and Marine Strategy Framework Directive suggest the creation of specific thresholds to define the EcoQ (Ecological Quality) status of the marine coastal systems. The thresholds applied on meiobenthos showed the worst conditions at the Brindisi harbour and at the mussel farm infrastructure of Castro. An overall moderate impact was detected also at the multiple-use Marine Protect Area of Porto Cesareo, likely due to the overwhelming number of tourist leading to an increase of organic enrichment (sewage discharge) negatively affecting the benthic communities. The main representatives of the nematode assemblages were taxa known as typical of muddy sediments. When EcoQ was assessed with the nematode thresholds, the worst EcoQ was found at T3 (Brindisi Harbour), T9 (Torre Specchia), and T10 (Alimini Lakes). The ecological conditions revealed by meiobenthic and nematode assemblages were generally consistent and seem to highlight a greater alteration of the meiobenthic communities along the Adriatic than the Ionian coasts.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11367/59862
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