Biodiversity patterns in Mediterranean coralligenous outcrops

 

Research

The Mediterranean Sea covers less than 1% of the world oceans but hosts around 10% of world's marine species, representing an important biodiversity hotspot. In the Mediterranean Sea, the corralligenous outcrops appear among the most diverse communities in terms of species (harbouring around 20% of Mediterranean species ) and are of of great structural complexity. However, there is little understanding of biodiversity patterns on coralligenous outcrops over large spatial and temporal scales. Coralligenous outcrops are hard bottoms of biogenic origin that thrive at dim light conditions in the Mediterranean Sea. The longevity and low dynamics of some engineering species make coralligenous outcrops highly vulnerable to disturbances such as destructive fishing practices, pollution, invasive species or mass mortality outbreaks linked to high temperature anomalies. Despite the ecological, aesthetic and economic value, coralligenous outcrop biodiversity patterns are poorly understood both at regional and temporal scales.

Mediterranean sea Coralligenous
This is a satellite image of the Mediterranean Sea showing dust over the western and central Mediterranean and clouds over the continents (Photo details). Enlarge Coralligenous outcrops are hard bottoms of biogenic origin that thrive at dim light conditions. Enlarge
Species Threats
The species dominating coralligenous seascape are encrousting calcareous  algae, sponges, cnidarians, bryozoans and tunicates. See the database on coralligenous species. Enlarge The longevity and low dynamics of some engineering species make these communities highly vulnerable to disturbances such as destructive fishing practices. Enlarge