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Montecarlo, Italy

Balata D.,Tenuta San Beda | Piazzi L.,Centro Interuniversitario Of Biologia Marina Ed Ecologia Applicata | Rindi F.,Marche Polytechnic University
Marine Biology | Year: 2011

Morpho-functional group classifications have been widely used in studies concerning benthic macroalgal communities, due to their easy application and the reduced cost and workload compared with species-level identifications. However, their effectiveness in representing spatio-temporal patterns and describing the effect of disturbances has been disputed. We propose a new, expanded classification of morphological functional groups based on thallus structure, growth form, branching pattern, and taxonomic affinities. This approach was tested on subtidal macroalgal assemblages of the western Mediterranean. We examined the differences in composition of assemblages subjected to different types of stressors using species, traditional morphological groups, and new morphological groups. Results showed that the new morphological groups allowed to detect patterns highlighted through species analyses generally better than the use of traditional morpho-functional groups. The new morphological groups may represent a valid tool in monitoring programs and environmental impact assessments, where it is important to detect early stages of environmental changes using methods that allow to examine a large number of samples in a limited time. © 2011 Springer-Verlag. Source


Gennaro P.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra | Balata D.,Tenuta San Beda
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2011

Effects of eutrophication on marine ecosystems have been widely studied, even if both the effects on deep subtidal rocky assemblages and response of different successional stages to nutrients impact are still not clear. In this context, the study aimed to evaluate the effects of nutrient enrichment on Mediterranean macroalgal assemblages associated with coralligenous habitat. A manipulative field experiment was carried out by supplying both mature and early successional stages of assemblages with nutrients. A total of 62 macroalgal species were identified. Multivariate and univariate analyses showed that the structure of both mature and early successional macroalgal assemblages of coralligenous significantly varied between areas treated with nutrients and not treated areas. Moreover, differences were stronger when macroalgal assemblages were in the early successional stage than in the mature one. Results highlighted the role played by nutrients in determining the structure of macroalgal coralligenous assemblages, furthermore suggesting possible synergetic effects with other kinds of disturbances. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Piazzi L.,University of Sassari | Balata D.,Tenuta San Beda | Cecchi E.,Regional Agency for the Tuscan Environment protection ARPAT | Gennaro P.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra | Serena F.,Regional Agency for the Tuscan Environment protection ARPAT
Scientia Marina | Year: 2014

Coralligenous habitat is one of the most important and sensitive habitats of the Mediterranean Sea and several different sampling procedures are currently used in the ecological investigations of coralligenous assemblages. This study aimed to assess the efficacy of different methods in detecting anthropogenic impacts on coralligenous habitat. In particular, the choice of sampling methods, the level of taxonomic resolution, the sampling area, the number of replicates and the spatial scales for detecting possible impacts were evaluated. Results showed that photographic samples larger than 1800 cm2, numbers of replicates larger than 10, the use of taxa and morphological groups as assemblage descriptors, and sampling designs with a high replication at small spatial scales are a valid methodological procedure in impact evaluation studies based on coralligenous assemblages. © 2014 CSIC. Source


Gennaro P.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra | Balata D.,Tenuta San Beda
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2012

Coralligenous habitat is one of the most important coastal systems of the Mediterranean Sea. This paper evaluates the main threats to macroalgal coralligenous habitats through a review of the relevant literature. Sedimentation, nutrient enrichment and biological invasions can cause severe alterations in the structure of coralligenous assemblages due to the regression of perennial structuring species and increases in populations of ephemeral algae. Under pristine conditions, mechanical disturbance seems to be easily mitigated by the recovery capability of coralligenous assemblages; however, such disturbances seriously affect coralligenous structure if they occur in concert with other stressors. Important synergetic effects among all the studied anthropogenic disturbances are also highlighted. The main consequences of the considered stressors are the loss of the complexity of macroalgal assemblages and the deterioration of both alpha and beta diversity. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Piazzi L.,University of Sassari | Balata D.,Tenuta San Beda | Ceccherelli G.,University of Sassari
Marine Ecology | Year: 2016

This paper reviews the main studies dealing with epiphytes of both leaves and rhizomes of Posidonia oceanica, the main seagrass found in the Mediterranean Sea. A total of 660 epiphyte species has been recorded, including 430 on leaves and 437 on rhizomes. Of these, 205 are Rhodophyta, 59 Ochrophyta, 43 Chlorophyta, 78 Porifera, 82 Cnidaria, 19 Annelida, 155 Bryozoa and 19 Tunicata. The epiphyte assemblages demonstrate a gradient of dissimilarity from west to east, with the eastern area being the most unlike the others. The differences can be attributed mostly to rare species that differ amongst the Mediterranean regions. Many of the dominant taxa have been found in all meadows studied. Data concerning species composition, abundance, and patterns of spatial and temporal variability are summarized, and biotic and abiotic factors controlling the structure of assemblages are discussed. Responses of epiphyte assemblages to anthropogenic stressors, such as nutrient enrichment and biological invasions, are discussed in relation to the use of epiphytes as ecological indicators. © 2016 Blackwell Verlag GmbH. Source

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