Advertisement

Marine Biology

, Volume 143, Issue 6, pp 1135–1142 | Cite as

Distribution patterns of sea urchins and barrens in shallow Mediterranean rocky reefs impacted by the illegal fishery of the rock-boring mollusc Lithophaga lithophaga

  • P. GuidettiEmail author
  • S. Fraschetti
  • A. Terlizzi
  • F. Boero
Research Article

Abstract

Shallow rocky habitats in SW Apulia (SE Italy, Mediterranean Sea) were surveyed in late spring 2002 to assess distribution patterns of sea urchins (Paracentrotus lividus and Arbacia lixula) and barren habitats (coralline barrens and bare substrates) in rocky reefs impacted by the destructive fishery of the rock-boring date-mussel Lithophaga lithophaga. Sea urchin density, test size-structure and biomass, and the percent cover of barrens were evaluated at four locations (5–6 km apart from each other), two heavily impacted by the date-mussel fishery and two controls. Sea urchin density and barren habitat cover were assessed at two and three sites (100–300 m apart), respectively, within each location. Sea urchin biomass was evaluated only at the scale of locations. Average density of P. lividus did not significantly change between impacted locations and controls, whereas A. lixula showed a greater density at the impacted locations. Distribution patterns of A. lixula, in addition, differed at the spatial scale of a few metres between impacted locations and controls, being generally more aggregated at the controls. The size-frequency distribution (test diameter) of P. lividus showed a mode at 3–4 cm at the impacted locations compared to a mode at 2–3 cm in the controls. The size-frequency of A. lixula was bimodal at the damaged locations (with modes at 1–2 and 4–5 cm, respectively) and unimodal (with the mode at 4–5 cm) at the controls. Average biomass of both sea urchins (P. lividus and A. lixula) was two- to fourfold greater at the impacted locations (~600 g wet wt m−2) than at the controls (150–250 g wet wt m−2). Barren habitats had a far greater average cover (mainly of macroalgae) at the impacted locations (from 79% to 96%) than at control locations (from 7% to 21%). These results show that the date-mussel fishery may have the potential to affect distribution patterns of sea urchins and to greatly enhance the percent cover of barren grounds in shallow Mediterranean rocky reefs.

Keywords

Macroalgae Rocky Substrate Rocky Reef Paracentrotus Lividus Barren Habitat 
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.

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study forms part of P.G.'s Ph.D. thesis, and has been partially funded by MURST (COFIN project) and the "Amministrazione Provinciale di Lecce" (Porto Cesareo project). The authors are indebted to R.E. Scheibling (Dalhousie University, Canada) and J.H. Himmelman (Université Laval, Canada), and three anonymous referees for their critical revision and useful suggestions which greatly improved the manuscript. Many thanks are also due to S. Bussotti for the identification of some sessile macrobenthic organisms, and to C. Vaglio for his assistance with the field work.

References

  1. Andrew NL, Underwood AJ (1993) Density-dependent foraging in the sea urchin Centrostephanus rodgersii on shallow subtidal reefs in New South Wales, Australia. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 99:89–98Google Scholar
  2. Archambault P, Banwell K, Underwood AJ (2001) Temporal variation in the structure of intertidal assemblages following the removal of sewage. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 222:51–62Google Scholar
  3. Auster PJ (1998) A conceptual model of the impacts of fishing gear on the integrity of fish habitats. Conserv Biol 12:1198–1203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bavestrello G, Cerrano C, Zanzi D, Cattaneo-Vietti R (1997) Damage by fishing activities to the Gorgonian coral Paramuricea clavata in the Ligurian Sea. Aquat Conserv Mar Freshw Ecosyst 7:253–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Benedetti-Cecchi L, Cinelli F (1995) Habitat heterogeneity, sea urchin grazing and the distribution of algae in littoral rock pools on the western coast of Italy (western Mediterranean). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 126:203–212Google Scholar
  6. Benedetti-Cecchi L, Bulleri F, Cinelli F (1998) Density dependent foraging of sea urchins in shallow subtidal reefs on the west coast of Italy (western Mediterranean). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 163:203–211Google Scholar
  7. Bernstein BB, Jung N (1979) Selective pressure and coevolution in a kelp canopy community in southern California. Ecol Monogr 49:335–355Google Scholar
  8. Breen PA, Mann KH (1976) Destructive grazing of kelp by sea urchins in eastern Canada. J Fish Res Board Can 33:1278–1283Google Scholar
  9. Bulleri F, Benedetti-Cecchi L, Cinelli F (1999) Grazing by the sea urchins Arbacia lixula L. and Paracentrotus lividus Lam. in the Northwest Mediterranean. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 241:81–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Caley M, Carr MH, Hixon MA, Hughes TP, Jones GP, Menge BA (1996) Recruitment and the local dynamics of open marine populations. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 27:477–500CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chapman ARO (1981) Stability of sea urchin dominated barrens grounds following destructive grazing of kelp in St. Margaret's Bay, eastern Canada. Mar Biol 62:307–311Google Scholar
  12. Chiappone M, White A, Swanson DW, Miller SL (2002) Occurrence and biological impacts of fishing gear and other marine debris in the Florida Keys. Mar Poll Bull 44:597–604Google Scholar
  13. Cuccu D, Addis P, Lenza I, Stefani M, Campisi S (1994) Prime osservazioni sulla distribuzione di Lithophaga lithophaga (Linnaeus, 1758) (Bivalvia Mytilidae) lungo le coste sarde. Biol Mar Medit 1:399–400Google Scholar
  14. Danielson BJ (1991) Communities in a landscape: the influence of habitat heterogeneity on the interactions between species. Am Nat 138:1105–1120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dayton PK, Thrush SF, Agardy TM, Hofman RJ (1995) Environmental effects of marine fishing. Aquat Conserv Mar Freshw Ecosyst 5:205–232Google Scholar
  16. Dayton PK, Tegner MJ, Edwards PB, Riser KL (1998) Sliding baselines, ghosts, and reduced expectations in kelp forest communities. Ecol Appl 8:309–322Google Scholar
  17. Dethier MN, Graham ES, Cohen S, Tear LM (1993) Visual versus random-point percent cover estimations: 'objective' is not always better. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 96:93–100Google Scholar
  18. Duarte CM (2000) Marine biodiversity and ecosystem services: an elusive link. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 250:117–131CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Fanelli G, Piraino S, Belmonte G, Geraci S, Boero F (1994) Human predation along Apulian rocky coasts (SE Italy): desertification caused by Lithophaga lithophaga (Mollusca) fisheries. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 110:1–8Google Scholar
  20. Fanelli G, Piraino S, Esposito L, Boero F (1998) Opposite roles of sea urchins and starfishes in marine benthic communities. In: Candia Carnevali ND, Bonassoro F (eds) Echinoderm research. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 453–457Google Scholar
  21. Fletcher WJ (1987) Interactions among Australian sea urchins, gastropods, and algae: effects of experimental removal. Ecol Monogr 57:89–109Google Scholar
  22. Fraschetti S, Bianchi CN, Terlizzi A, Fanelli G, Morri C, Boero F (2001) Spatial variability and human disturbance in shallow subtidal hard substrate assemblages: a regional approach. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 212:1–12Google Scholar
  23. Fraschetti S, Giangrande A, Terlizzi A, Boero F (2003) Pre- and post-settlement events in benthic community dynamics. Oceanol Acta 25:285–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Guidetti P (2002) The importance of experimental design in detecting the effects of protection measures on fish in Mediterranean MPAs. Aquat Conserv Mar Freshw Ecosyst 12:619–634CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Guidetti P, Fanelli G, Fraschetti S, Terlizzi, Boero F (2002) Coastal fish indicate human-induced changes in the Mediterranean littoral. Mar Environ Res 53:77–94Google Scholar
  26. Guidetti P, Terlizzi A, Fraschetti S, Boero F (2003a) Changes in Mediterranean rocky-reef fish assemblages exposed to sewage pollution. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 253:269–278Google Scholar
  27. Guidetti P, Fraschetti S, Terlizzi A, Boero F (2003b) Desertification caused by Lithophaga lithophaga (Mollusca) fishery along Apulian rocky coasts (SE Italy, Mediterranean Sea): effects on littoral fish assemblages. Conserv Biol (in press)Google Scholar
  28. Hall SJ (1999) The effects of fishing on marine ecosystems and communities. Blackwell Science, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  29. Hart MW, Scheibling RE (1988) Heat waves, baby booms, and the destruction of kelp beds by sea urchins. Mar Biol 99:167–176Google Scholar
  30. Himmelman JH (1986) Population biology of green sea urchins on rocky barrens. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 33:295–306Google Scholar
  31. Hunt HL, Scheibling R (1997) Role of early post-settlement mortality in recruitment of benthic marine invertebrates. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 155:269–301Google Scholar
  32. Leinaas HP, Christie H (1996) Effects of removing sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis): stability of the barren state and succession of kelp forest recovery in the east Atlantic. Oecologia 105:524–536Google Scholar
  33. Lòpez S, Turon X, Montero E, Palacìn C, Duarte CM, Tarjuelo I (1998) Larval abundance, recruitment and early mortality in Paracentrotus lividus (Echinoidea). Interannual variability and plankton–benthos coupling. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 172:239–251Google Scholar
  34. Maldonado M, Uriz MJ (1998) Microrefuge exploitation by subtidal encrusting sponges: patterns of settlement and post-settlement survival. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 174:141–150Google Scholar
  35. McClanahan TR, Kamukuru AT, Muthiga NA, Gilagabher Yebio M, Obura D (1995) Effects of sea urchin reductions on algae, coral, and fish populations. Conserv Biol 10:136–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Meinesz A, Boudouresque CF, Falconetti C, Astier JM, Bay D, Blanc JJ, Bourcier M, Cinelli F, Cirik S, Cristiani G, Di Geronimo I, Giaccone G, Harmelin JG, Laubier L, Lovric AZ, Molinier R, Soyer J, Vamvakas C (1983) Normalisation des symboles pour la représentation et la cartographie des biocénoses benthiques littorales de Méditerranée. Ann Inst Oceanogr 59:155–172Google Scholar
  37. Menge B (2000) Top-down and bottom-up community regulation in marine rocky intertidal habitats. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 250:257–289CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Palacìn C, Giribet G, Carner S, Dantart L, Turin X (1998) Low density of sea urchins influence the structure of algal assemblages in the western Mediterranean. J Sea Res 39:281–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Pérèz JM, Picard J (1964) Nouveau manuel de bionomie benthique de la Méditerranée. Rec Trav Stat Mar Endoume 31:1–137Google Scholar
  40. Ros J, Niell FX (1981) Algunos datos biométricos de Paracentrotus lividus (Lmk.), Arbacia lixula (L.) y Sphaerechinus granularis (Lmk.) (Echinodermata, Echinoidea). Oecol Aquat 5:227–231Google Scholar
  41. Rowley RJ (1989) Settlement and recruitment of sea urchins in a barren ground and a kelp bed: are population regulated by settlement or post-settlement processes? Mar Biol 100:485–494Google Scholar
  42. Rowley RJ (1990) Newly settled sea urchins in a kelp bed and urchin barren ground: a comparison of growth and mortality. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 62:229–240Google Scholar
  43. Russo GF, Cicogna F (1992) Il dattero di mare, Lithophaga lithophaga, e gli effetti distruttivi della sua pesca sull'ambiente marino costiero: problemi e prospettive. Boll Mus Ist Biol Univ Genova 56/57:165–194Google Scholar
  44. Saila SB, Kocic VLj, McManus JW (1993) Modelling the effects of destructive fishing practices on tropical coral reefs. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 94:51–60Google Scholar
  45. Sala E (1997) Fish predators and scavengers of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus in protected areas of the north-western Mediterranean Sea. Mar Biol 129:531–539CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sala E, Graham MH (2002) Community-wide distribution of predator–prey interaction strength in kelp forests. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 99:3678–3683Google Scholar
  47. Sala E, Zabala M (1996) Fish predation and the structure of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus populations in the NW Mediterranean. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 140:71–81Google Scholar
  48. Sala E, Ribes M, Hereu B, Zabala M, Alvà V, Coma R, Garrabou J (1998a) Temporal variability in abundance of the sea urchins Paracentrotus lividus and Arbacia lixula in the northwestern Mediterranean: comparison between a marine reserve and an unprotected area. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 168:135–145Google Scholar
  49. Sala E, Boudouresque CF, Harmelin-Vivien M (1998b) Fishing, trophic cascades, and the structure of algal assemblages: evaluation of an old but untested paradigm. Oikos 82:425–439Google Scholar
  50. Sammarco PW (1980) Diadema and its relationship to coral spat mortality: grazing, competition, and biological disturbance. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 45:245–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Scheibling RE (1986) Increased macroalgal abundance following mass mortalities of sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis) along the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia. Oecologia 68:186–198Google Scholar
  52. Scheibling RE (1995) The role of predation in regulating sea urchin populations in eastern Canada. Oceanol Acta 19:421–430Google Scholar
  53. Steneck RS (1997) Fisheries-induced biological changes to the structure and function of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem. In: Wallace GT, Braasch EF (eds) Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem dynamics scientific symposium and workshop. RARGOM report 91-1, pp 151–165Google Scholar
  54. Steneck RS (1998) Human influences on coastal ecosystems: does overfishing create trophic cascades? Trends Ecol Evol 13:429–430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Tegner MJ, Dayton PK (1981) Population structure, recruitment and mortality of two sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus franciscanus and S. purpuratus) in a kelp forest. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 5:255–268Google Scholar
  56. Tegner MJ, Dayton PK, Edwards PB, Riser KL (1995) Sea urchin cavitation of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera C. Agardh) holdfasts and its effects on kelp mortality across a large California forest. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 191:83–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Thrush SF, Hewitt JE, Cummings VJ, Dayton PK, Cryer M, Turner SJ, Funnel GA, Budd RG, Milburn CJ, Wilkinson ML (1998) Disturbance of the marine benthic habitat by commercial fishing: impacts at the scale of the fishery. Ecol Appl 8:866–879Google Scholar
  58. Turner SJ, Thrush SF, Hewitt JE, Cummings VJ, Funnell G (1999) Fishing impacts and the degradation or loss of habitat structure. Fish Manag Ecol 6:401–420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Turon X, Giribert G, Lòpez S, Palacìn C (1995) Growth and population structure of Paracentrotus lividus (Echinodermata: Echinoidea) in two contrasting habitats. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 122:193–204Google Scholar
  60. Underwood AJ (1997) Experiments in ecology: their logic design and interpretation using analysis of variance. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  61. Watling L (1998) Effects of mobile fishing gear on marine benthos. Conserv Biol 12:1178–1179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Watling L, Norse NE (1998) Disturbance of the sea bed by mobile fishing gear: a comparison to forest clearcutting. Conserv Biol 12:1180–1197CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Guidetti
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. Fraschetti
    • 1
  • A. Terlizzi
    • 1
  • F. Boero
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Zoology and Marine Biology, DiSTeBA, CoNISMaUniversity of LecceLecceItaly

Personalised recommendations