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Granger V.,Montpellier University | Fromentin J.-M.,French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea | Bez N.,IRD Montpellier | Meynard C.N.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | And 24 more authors.
Progress in Oceanography | Year: 2015

Increasing human pressures and global environmental change may severely affect the diversity of species assemblages and associated ecosystem services. Despite the recent interest in phylogenetic and functional diversity, our knowledge on large spatio-temporal patterns of demersal fish diversity sampled by trawling remains still incomplete, notably in the Mediterranean Sea, one of the most threatened marine regions of the world. We investigated large spatio-temporal diversity patterns by analysing a dataset of 19,886 hauls from 10 to 800. m depth performed annually during the last two decades by standardised scientific bottom trawl field surveys across the Mediterranean Sea, within the MEDITS program. A multi-component (eight diversity indices) and multi-scale (local assemblages, biogeographic regions to basins) approach indicates that only the two most traditional components (species richness and evenness) were sufficient to reflect patterns in taxonomic, phylogenetic or functional richness and divergence. We also put into question the use of widely computed indices that allow comparing directly taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversity within a unique mathematical framework. In addition, demersal fish assemblages sampled by trawl do not follow a continuous decreasing longitudinal/latitudinal diversity gradients (spatial effects explained up to 70.6% of deviance in regression tree and generalised linear models), for any of the indices and spatial scales analysed. Indeed, at both local and regional scales species richness was relatively high in the Iberian region, Malta, the Eastern Ionian and Aegean seas, meanwhile the Adriatic Sea and Cyprus showed a relatively low level. In contrast, evenness as well as taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional divergences did not show regional hotspots. All studied diversity components remained stable over the last two decades. Overall, our results highlight the need to use complementary diversity indices through different spatial scales when developing conservation strategies and defining delimitations for protected areas. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Maynou F.,CSIC - Institute of Marine Sciences | Sbrana M.,Consorzio Per Il Centro Interuniversitario Of Biologia Marina Ed Ecologia Applicata | Sartor P.,Consorzio Per Il Centro Interuniversitario Of Biologia Marina Ed Ecologia Applicata | Maravelias C.,Hellenic Center for Marine Research | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

We conducted interviews of a representative sample of 106 retired fishers in Italy, Spain and Greece, asking specific questions about the trends they perceived in dolphin and shark abundances between 1940 and 1999 (in three 20 year periods) compared to the present abundance. The large marine fauna studied were not target species of the commercial fleet segment interviewed (trawl fishery). The fishers were asked to rank the perceived abundance in each period into qualitative ordinal classes based on two indicators: frequency of sightings and frequency of catches (incidental or intentional) of each taxonomic group. The statistical analysis of the survey results showed that both incidental catches and the sighting frequency of dolphins have decreased significantly over the 60+ years of the study period (except for in Greece due to the recent population increase). This shows that fishers' perceptions are in agreement with the declining population trends detected by scientists. Shark catches were also perceived to have diminished since the early 1940s for all species. Other long-lived Mediterranean marine fauna (monk seals, whales) were at very low levels in the second half of the 20 th century and no quantitative data could be obtained. Our study supports the results obtained in the Mediterranean and other seas that show the rapid disappearance (over a few decades) of marine fauna. We show that appropriately designed questionnaires help provide a picture of animal abundance in the past through the valuable perceptions of fishers. This information can be used to complement scientific sources or in some cases be taken as the only information source for establishing population trends in the abundance of sensitive species. © 2011 Maynou et al.

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