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Detection of environmental impacts by bottom trawling onPosidonia oceanica (L.) Delile meadows: sensitivity of fish and macroinvertebrate communities

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Abstract

Along the Mediterranean coast,Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile meadows have a great ecological and economical importance. However, there is a general regression of these meadows due to human activities such as illegal bottom trawling, may be affecting to overall ecosystem health. We examined changes in the community structure of mobile fauna associated withP. oceanica meadows at different spatial scales and taxonomic levels. The aim of this paper was to identify the most efficient taxonomic level to use in environmental impact studies of bottom trawling. At the macroscale level (10 to 100 m), there were significant differences between sites in the densities of some fish species and also the total fish assemblage structure, at both family and species taxonomical levels. At the microscale (0.1 to 1 m), some species of amphipods and isopods showed significant differences in their population densities. In the overall analysis of community structure, the coarse taxonomical levels, such as phyla and class, did not show significant differences, however amphipods and isopods showed significant differences at family and species levels. From these results, both study scales are required to detect changes onPosidonia meadows' fauna. Monitoring of some fish species such asDiplodus annularis (Linnaeus, 1758) and the overall fish assemblage as well as the structure of the amphipod and isopod communities appears to be the most efficient tool in the assessment of environmental impacts by bottom trawling onP. oceanica meadows.

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Sánchez-Jerez, P., Ramos Esplá, A.A. Detection of environmental impacts by bottom trawling onPosidonia oceanica (L.) Delile meadows: sensitivity of fish and macroinvertebrate communities. Journal of Aquatic Ecosystem Health 5, 239–253 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00662185

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Key words

  • benthos
  • community structure
  • seagrass
  • habitat degradation
  • Mediterranean Sea