Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 180, Issue 1–4, pp 325–344 | Cite as

On the quantitative distribution and community structure of the meio and macrofaunal communities in the coastal area of the Central Adriatic Sea (Italy)

  • Fabrizio Frontalini
  • Federica Semprucci
  • Rodolfo Coccioni
  • Maria Balsamo
  • Paolo Bittoni
  • Anabella Covazzi-Harriague


Many coastal areas have served as repositories of different anthropogenic and naturally induced organic material and nutrients. The major sources thereof are riverine inputs which strongly influence the spatial and temporal distribution of benthic communities. In this study, the benthic foraminiferal, meiofaunal, and macrofaunal colonies in front of three rivers in a poorly known, but environmentally valuable, area of the Central Adriatic Sea have been examined concurrently. The physico-chemical parameters of bottom water and sediment characteristics were determined in order to characterize both the sediment–water interface and the benthic environments. Although changes in the biota are neither univocal nor unidirectional, a moderate influence of riverine input on the different communities’ components can be inferred. The most affected taxa are foraminifera and copepods and, to a lesser extent, meiofaunal polychaetes and platyhelminthes. These results are also tested by the ABC curves, which reveal that the macrofaunal communities closest to the river mouths are moderately disturbed. This integrated investigation documents, for the first time, how benthic communities can be used as an early warning indicator with which to monitor the health quality of a coastal ecosystem.


Foraminifera Meiofauna Macrofauna Riverine input Adriatic Sea 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabrizio Frontalini
    • 1
  • Federica Semprucci
    • 1
  • Rodolfo Coccioni
    • 1
  • Maria Balsamo
    • 1
  • Paolo Bittoni
    • 2
  • Anabella Covazzi-Harriague
    • 3
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze dell’Uomo, dell’Ambiente e della Natura (DiSUAN)Università di Urbino ‘Carlo Bo’UrbinoItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento Militare Marittimo di La Spezia, V.le AmendolaLa SpeziaItaly
  3. 3.Dipartimento per lo Studio del Territorio e delle sue Risorse (Dip.Te.Ris.)Università di GenovaGenovaItaly

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