Marine Biology

, Volume 143, Issue 6, pp 1109–1116 | Cite as

Polychaete assemblages along a rocky shore on the South Adriatic coast (Mediterranean Sea): patterns of spatial distribution

  • A. GiangrandeEmail author
  • A. L. Delos
  • S. Fraschetti
  • L. Musco
  • M. Licciano
  • A. Terlizzi
Research Article


This study reports on the distribution of polychaete assemblages along a depth gradient from 5 to 25 m, along a stretch of rocky coast near Otranto (South Adriatic sea, Italy). Three depths were sampled in May and November 2000. At each depth three sites (about 100 m apart) were sampled by scraping off three replicate quadrats of 20×20 cm. The experimental design enabled identification of across- and along-shore spatial patterns of variation of polychaete assemblages. A total of 4,168 specimens, belonging to 152 taxa were collected. Multivariate analysis showed that the polychaete assemblages differed significantly among depths with the clearest differences between the shallowest sites (5 m) and the deeper ones (15–25 m). A considerable source of variation among sites at each level of the shore was also exhibited by the analyses, with the greatest differences among sites within depths recorded at 5 m. The species most contributing to the differentiation of assemblages among depths and sites within each depth were identified. Some potential causes of the observed differences are hypothesized and discussed. The importance of quantitative observation to provide the context for studying the underlying ecological processes is also stressed.


Polychaete Assemblage Structure Rocky Shore Depth Gradient Algal Assemblage 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Research funded by the Regione Puglia (INTERREG Albany-Italy project), and MURST (COFIN project). C. Vaglio provided invaluable assistance during field-work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Giangrande
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. L. Delos
    • 1
  • S. Fraschetti
    • 1
  • L. Musco
    • 1
  • M. Licciano
    • 1
  • A. Terlizzi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological and Environmental Science and TechnologyUniversity of LecceLecceItaly

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