Benthic Species and Habitats

A special issue of Journal of Marine Science and Engineering (ISSN 2077-1312). This special issue belongs to the section "Marine Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2022) | Viewed by 33812

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Biosciences, Biotechnologies and Environment (DBBA), University of Bari Aldo Moro, Via Orabona 4, 70125 Bari, Italy
Interests: benthos; anthozoa; deep sea; mesophotic; corals; conservation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The sea bottom hosts a striking variety of species and habitats, many of which have still not been described or are barely known. In spite of the critical role played by benthic life, the species distribution and main features are not yet comprehensively understood, nor are the patterns and processes that shape its presence and that could threaten its future survival. Thanks to the use of cutting-edge technologies (e.g., underwater vehicles and autonomous devices) and sophisticated molecular techniques, scientific research is advancing remarkably, unveiling the secrets of the marine benthos from the poles to the tropics, from the coastal zones down to the most inaccessible deep habitats. This Special Issue aims to share relevant scientific work focused on everything from large-scale patterns to detailed aspects and case studies, encouraging the publication of new emerging information that contributes to the knowledge of the benthic realm. Topics of interest include:

  • Taxonomy;
  • Biodiversity;
  • Species distribution;
  • Species interaction;
  • Habitat mapping;
  • Ecosystem goods and services;
  • New methodologies;
  • Monitoring;
  • Impacts and threats;
  • Conservation and management.

Dr. Giovanni Chimienti
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • biodiversity
  • zoology
  • ecology
  • phycology
  • biogeography
  • habitat mapping
  • species distribution
  • impacts and threats
  • vulnerable marine ecosystems
  • conservation and management

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Editorial

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2 pages, 197 KiB  
Editorial
Benthic Species and Habitats
by Giovanni Chimienti
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2023, 11(4), 720; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse11040720 - 27 Mar 2023
Viewed by 981
Abstract
The term benthos, coined by the German naturalist Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel in 1891 [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Benthic Species and Habitats)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

23 pages, 4659 KiB  
Article
Estimation of the Benthic Habitat Zonation by Photo-Quadrat Image Analysis along the Fringing Reef of Weno Island, Chuuk, Micronesia
by Taihun Kim, Dae-Won Lee, Han-Jun Kim, Yun-Hwan Jung, Young-Ung Choi, Jung-Hee Oh, Tae-Hoon Kim, Do-Hyung Kang and Heung-Sik Park
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2022, 10(11), 1643; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10111643 - 03 Nov 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2083
Abstract
Benthic habitat zonation is described from in situ observations and seabed photographs taken from the coastal area of Weno Island, Chuuk, Micronesia. Habitat groups, types, and boundaries are defined by visible substratum characteristics (i.e., in situ and by digital imaging of photo-quadrats along [...] Read more.
Benthic habitat zonation is described from in situ observations and seabed photographs taken from the coastal area of Weno Island, Chuuk, Micronesia. Habitat groups, types, and boundaries are defined by visible substratum characteristics (i.e., in situ and by digital imaging of photo-quadrats along transect lines), and by cluster and ordination analyses using relative coverage percentage of identified classification categories. The statistical similarity between habitat groups is determined by Analysis of similarity (ANOSIM). Benthic habitat groups with significant influence on the determination of habitat type are isolated by the similarity percentage (SIMPER) test. In addition to the standard practices of using transect lines and collecting data in accordance with the already well-implemented and thoroughly-tested benthic habitat classification scheme for tropical reef monitoring, we applied simple statistics that enable comparative data interpretation. Our simple, repeatable methods provide a framework for benthic habitat-related monitoring research that allows the comparison of results across regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Benthic Species and Habitats)
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16 pages, 4012 KiB  
Article
Trapezia Crabs That Dwell in Distinctive Day/Night Canopy Compartments of a Marine Animal Forest, Forage on Demersal Plankton
by Yaniv Shmuel, Yaron Ziv and Baruch Rinkevich
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2022, 10(10), 1522; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10101522 - 18 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1453
Abstract
Canopies of branching corals harbor a wide range of sessile- and mobile-dwelling species that benefit from the physical compartments and the micro-environments created by the complex three-dimensional structures. Although different compartments within canopies are differentially used by inhabitant species, the distribution of mobile [...] Read more.
Canopies of branching corals harbor a wide range of sessile- and mobile-dwelling species that benefit from the physical compartments and the micro-environments created by the complex three-dimensional structures. Although different compartments within canopies are differentially used by inhabitant species, the distribution of mobile animals between coral canopy compartments are not fully explored. Here, we study Stylophora pistillata, a common branching coral in the Gulf of Eilat that harbors obligatory crabs from the family Trapezia. Two in situ surveys elucidated diel dynamics in compartmental distributions of Trapezia species within S. pistillata canopies compartments, associated with the crab’s body size and day/night activities. Whereas all crabs were found within sheltered spaces in the coral canopy understory or in the base during day hours, laboratory experiments revealed that nighttime distributions of small and large crabs (in middle and up compartments, respectively) are not intraspecific competition-borne, but rather, the outcome of preferred crab-size location for a novel feeding type, predation on demersal plankton. This study, thus, disclosed the importance of studying the coral’s three-dimensional structures and within canopies’ compartments for understanding the biology of dwelling species in the animal forests’ canopies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Benthic Species and Habitats)
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18 pages, 3810 KiB  
Article
A 3D Innovative Approach Supporting the Description of Boring Sponges of the Precious Red Coral Corallium rubrum
by Torcuato Pulido Mantas, Giorgio Bavestrello, Marco Bertolino, Carlo Cerrano, Daniela Pica, Camilla Roveta and Barbara Calcinai
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2022, 10(7), 868; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10070868 - 24 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1612
Abstract
The carbonatic scleraxis of Corallium rubrum (L.), commonly known as red coral, is often found infested by excavating sponges. These boring organisms produce galleries inside the compact axis of the coral in a variety of shapes compromising the integrity of the skeleton and [...] Read more.
The carbonatic scleraxis of Corallium rubrum (L.), commonly known as red coral, is often found infested by excavating sponges. These boring organisms produce galleries inside the compact axis of the coral in a variety of shapes compromising the integrity of the skeleton and reducing its commercial value. Three sponge species, already known to bore into Corallium rubrum, have been identified in colonies collected from Cape Verde Archipelago—Alectona millari (Carter, 1879); Dotona pulchella mediterranea (Rosell and Uriz, 2002); and Thoosa armata (Topsent, 1888)—together with a new species belonging to the genus Alectona and here described. SEM analysis provided evidence of the microerosion patterns of these species, confirming the presence of radial scars overlapped with the concentric ones, in T. armata. For the first time, microcomputed tomography was employed to obtain three-dimensional reconstructions of sponge excavations inside the red coral scleraxis and to estimate the eroded volume. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Benthic Species and Habitats)
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14 pages, 1900 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Biological Performance of Living Docks—A Citizen Science Initiative to Improve Coastal Water Quality through Benthic Recruitment within the Indian River Lagoon, Florida
by Morgan Gilligan, Kelli Hunsucker, Sandra Rech, Alyssa Sharma, Rebecca Beltran, Ryan T. White and Robert Weaver
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2022, 10(6), 823; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10060823 - 16 Jun 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2657
Abstract
Like many estuaries worldwide, the Indian River Lagoon (IRL), has seen a decline in resources and overall water quality due to human activities. One method to help restore water quality and benthic habitats is to construct and deploy oyster restoration mats on dock [...] Read more.
Like many estuaries worldwide, the Indian River Lagoon (IRL), has seen a decline in resources and overall water quality due to human activities. One method to help restore water quality and benthic habitats is to construct and deploy oyster restoration mats on dock pilings, known as the Living Docks program. This community-driven program was founded to promote the growth of filter-feeding benthic organisms and improve local water quality. The purpose of this study was to assess the growth and performance at four of the Living Dock locations and to provide feedback to the citizens who were involved in the initial process and deployments. Four docks were biologically assessed for temporal changes during three-time points throughout the year, as denoted by changes in temperature in October, February, and June. The back of each mat was also analyzed for organism cementation to the piling. The presence of filter-feeding organisms was found to vary both spatially and temporally, especially for the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica), encrusting bryozoan (Schizobrachiella verrilli), sponges (Demospongiae), and barnacles (Amphibalanus amphitrite, Amphibalanus eburneus). A greater diversity in the sessile benthic flora and fauna was seen during the June sampling period. Cementation on the pilings was due to a combination of barnacles and sponge growth. Cementation was observed to increase from October and decrease for all but one dock for the June sampling period. The results demonstrate this restoration project to be successful in promoting the growth of benthic organisms, while also providing understanding into seasonal trends amongst species. Hopefully, the positive output will encourage more community members and citizen scientists to participate in the ongoing effort to help restore water quality in the IRL. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Benthic Species and Habitats)
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14 pages, 1903 KiB  
Article
Distribution of Nereilinum murmanicum (Annelida, Siboglinidae) in the Barents Sea in the Context of Its Oil and Gas Potential
by Nadezda Karaseva, Madina Kanafina, Mikhail Gantsevich, Nadezhda Rimskaya-Korsakova, Denis Zakharov, Alexey Golikov, Roman Smirnov and Vladimir Malakhov
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(12), 1339; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9121339 - 29 Nov 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1932
Abstract
Frenulate siboglinids are a characteristic component of communities living in various reducing environments, including sites with hydrocarbon seeps. High concentrations of hydrocarbons in the sediments of the Arctic basin seas, including the Barents Sea, suggest the presence of a rich siboglinid fauna there. [...] Read more.
Frenulate siboglinids are a characteristic component of communities living in various reducing environments, including sites with hydrocarbon seeps. High concentrations of hydrocarbons in the sediments of the Arctic basin seas, including the Barents Sea, suggest the presence of a rich siboglinid fauna there. This reflects the fact that microbiological oxidation of methane occurs under reducing conditions, generating high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide in the sediment. This hydrogen sulfide acts as an energy source for the sulfide-oxidizing symbionts of siboglinids. Here we report on the findings of the frenulate siboglinid species Nereilinum murmanicum made between 1993 and 2020 in the Barents Sea. These data significantly expand the range of this species and yield new information on its habitat distribution. The depth range of N. murmanicum was 75–375 m. The species was most abundant from 200 to 350 m and was associated with temperatures below 3 °C and salinities from 34.42 to 35.07. Most of the findings (43 locations or 74%) fall on areas highly promising for oil and gas production. Twenty-eight locations (48%) are associated with areas of known oil deposits, 22 locations (37%) with explored areas of gas hydrate deposits. N. murmanicum was also found near the largest gas fields in the Barents Sea, namely Shtokman, Ludlovskoye and Ledovoye. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Benthic Species and Habitats)
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11 pages, 9295 KiB  
Article
Relative Growth and Size Structure of Achelous spinicarpus Stimpson, 1871 Associated with Shrimp Trawling in the State of Veracruz
by Angel Morán-Silva, Sergio Cházaro-Olvera, Rafael Chávez-López, Jesús Montoya-Mendoza, Horacio Vázquez-López and Asela del Carmen Rodríguez-Varela
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(10), 1097; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9101097 - 07 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1658
Abstract
The objective was to analyse the relative growth and size structure of Achelous spinicarpus associated with trawling in Veracruz. The organisms came from shrimp trawls carried out in July 2013. There were 45 trawls organized in two depth intervals (B: 22 to 46 [...] Read more.
The objective was to analyse the relative growth and size structure of Achelous spinicarpus associated with trawling in Veracruz. The organisms came from shrimp trawls carried out in July 2013. There were 45 trawls organized in two depth intervals (B: 22 to 46 m and C: >46 m) and 14 fishing quadrants. Abundance, mean and standard deviation, by sex and depth interval, and sex ratio were determined. An ANOVA was applied to compare CW means, depth intervals and fishing quadrants. The CW-weight relationship was obtained, and growth type was also determined. Length-frequency analyses were carried out. A total of 2377 crabs were collected, 1164 males and 713 females. The overall average CW was 3.65 ± 0.7677 cm, the minimum value was 1.50 cm, and the maximum was 6.00 cm. For males, the average CW was 3.65 ± 0.8242 cm, with1.50 cm minimum value and 6.00 cm maximum value. The average CW of females was 3.64 ± 0.6164 cm, with 1.60 cm minimum value and 5.90 cm maximum value. There were no statistically significant differences in CW between males and females. However, there were significant differences between depth intervals (B and C) for the total and sex CW data. The sex ratio was 2.94:1 and 2.05:1 for depth intervals B and C, and 2.33:1 for the total data set. Growth type was allometric negative for both sexes and overall, with significant differences in slopes between sexes. There was a unimodal pattern for the two fishing depth intervals and for each sex; crabs were between 2.40 and 4.00 cm (77.64%) and between 2.56 and 5.12 (91.12%) for the B and C intervals, respectively. In males, 88.46% were between 2.40 and 4.80 cm, and 90.46% of females were between 2.72 and 4.64 cm. Achelous spinicarpus is an essential species in the structure of the brachyuran assemblage and in benthic communities, as well as a food resource for various species of demersal fish. Thus, the present study provides information on the population subjected to the impact of fishing activity in the area, allowing comparisons between different populations in the species’ area of distribution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Benthic Species and Habitats)
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16 pages, 3513 KiB  
Article
Effects of Ecological Restoration Using Non-Native Mangrove Kandelia obovata to Replace Invasive Spartina alterniflora on Intertidal Macrobenthos Community in Maoyan Island (Zhejiang, China)
by Qiuxuan Wang, Carlos Duarte, Li Song, George Christakos, Susana Agusti and Jiaping Wu
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(8), 788; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9080788 - 22 Jul 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2558
Abstract
Spartina alterniflora has extensively invaded the coastline of China, including in Maoyan Island of Zhejiang Province. Ecological restoration has been conducted using non-native mangrove Kandelia obovata to replace S. alterniflora in an attempt to restore the impacted intertidal zones. To illustrate the ecological [...] Read more.
Spartina alterniflora has extensively invaded the coastline of China, including in Maoyan Island of Zhejiang Province. Ecological restoration has been conducted using non-native mangrove Kandelia obovata to replace S. alterniflora in an attempt to restore the impacted intertidal zones. To illustrate the ecological effectiveness of the restoration projects, macrobenthos communities were studied among different habitats within the restored areas, including one non-restored S. alterniflora marsh (SA) and three differently-aged restored K. obovata stands planted in 2003, 2009, and 2011 respectively (KF14, KF8, and KF6). Besides, one unvegetated mudflat (MF) adjacent to the non-restored S. alterniflora marsh and one K. obovata forest transplanted in 2006 (RKF) at a previously barren mudflat without invasion history of S. alterniflora were set as reference sites. A total of 69 species of macrobenthos were collected from Maoyan Island, and the species richness was dominated by gastropoda (23 species), polychaeta (18 species), and malacostraca (16 species). There was no significant difference between the six sites in terms of the abundance of macrobenthos, with the average values of abundance peaking in KF6 (734.7 ind m−2) and being lowest in RKF (341.3 ind m−2). The six sites had significant differences in terms of the biomass of macrobenthos. The KF8 site contained the highest average biomass (168.3 g m−2), whereas the MF site had the lowest (54.3 g m−2). The Shannon-Wiener diversity index and Pielou’s evenness index of the macrobenthos did not exhibit significant differences among the six sites. However, the results of permutational multivariate analysis of variance (PERMANOVA) revealed significant spatial differences in the macrobenthos community structure between the sites. Since KF14 shared a similar macrobenthos community structure with RKF, while representing a strikingly different structure from SA, we infer that ecological restoration using K. obovata can restore the macrobenthos community to resemble to a normally planted K. obovata forest about 15 years after restoration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Benthic Species and Habitats)
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17 pages, 4253 KiB  
Article
Spatial Patterns of Macrozoobenthos Assemblages in a Sentinel Coastal Lagoon: Biodiversity and Environmental Drivers
by Soilam Boutoumit, Oussama Bououarour, Reda El Kamcha, Pierre Pouzet, Bendahhou Zourarah, Abdelaziz Benhoussa, Mohamed Maanan and Hocein Bazairi
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(5), 461; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9050461 - 23 Apr 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2938
Abstract
This study presents an assessment of the diversity and spatial distribution of benthic macrofauna communities along the Moulay Bousselham lagoon and discusses the environmental factors contributing to observed patterns. In the autumn of 2018, 68 stations were sampled with three replicates per station [...] Read more.
This study presents an assessment of the diversity and spatial distribution of benthic macrofauna communities along the Moulay Bousselham lagoon and discusses the environmental factors contributing to observed patterns. In the autumn of 2018, 68 stations were sampled with three replicates per station in subtidal and intertidal areas. Environmental conditions showed that the range of water temperature was from 25.0 °C to 12.3 °C, the salinity varied between 38.7 and 3.7, while the average of pH values fluctuated between 7.3 and 8.0. In vegetated habitats, biomass values of the seagrass Zostera noltei Hornemann ranged between 31.7 gDW/m² and 170.2 gDW/m² while the biomass of the seagrass Ruppia cirrhosa (Petagna) Grande between 54.2 gDW/m² and 84.7 gDW/m². Sediment analyses showed that the lagoon is mainly composed of sandy and silty sediments. We recorded 37,165 individuals of macrofauna distributed in 63 taxa belonging to 50 families, with a mean abundance value of 4582.8 ind/m² and biomass average of 22.2 g/m². Distance-based linear modeling analysis (DISTLM) identified sediment characteristics, water parameters and habitat type (biomass of Z. noltei) as the major environmental drivers influencing macrozoobenthos patterns. Our results clearly revealed that the hydrographic regime (marine and terrestrial freshwater), sediment distribution and characteristics and the type of habitat (vegetated vs. unvegetated substrate) are the key factors determining the species composition and patterns of macrozoobenthos assemblages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Benthic Species and Habitats)
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14 pages, 4959 KiB  
Article
A New Species of Spongilla (Porifera, Demospongiae) from a Karst Lake in Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)
by Barbara Calcinai, Carlo Cerrano, Laura Núñez-Pons, Maurizio Pansini, Do Cong Thung and Marco Bertolino
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2020, 8(12), 1008; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse8121008 - 09 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3334
Abstract
Cahong in Ha Long Bay (Vietnam) is a small lake with a reduced, invisible connection with the open sea. The water column conditions locally experience notable fluctuations across the year, mostly driven by biannual monsoon seasons. Salinity, temperature, and pH often reach extreme [...] Read more.
Cahong in Ha Long Bay (Vietnam) is a small lake with a reduced, invisible connection with the open sea. The water column conditions locally experience notable fluctuations across the year, mostly driven by biannual monsoon seasons. Salinity, temperature, and pH often reach extreme values, unsustainable for the majority of the marine fauna. Therefore, the biodiversity of the benthic macrofauna in this peculiar habitat is remarkably low. In particular, a single sponge species new to science was found solely populating this characteristic brackish lake during our last survey in August 2018. Spongilla manconiae sp. nov. is a new Porifera species described here. It belongs to an exclusively freshwater taxon and seems to have acquired adaptive traits to tolerate extreme peaks of temperature and salinity. The mitochondrial Cytochrome C Oxidase subunit 1 (COI) and the nuclear Internal Transcribed Spacers 1 and 2 (ITSs) gene markers were used for barcoding tagging and phylogenetic analyses. The new species revealed large genetic distances and separate clustering in the tree topology, with respect to other reference spongillid sequences from various geographic areas. The study provides evidence for an urgency to protect these unique marine lake systems because they represent rare, fluctuant, fragile habitats that may speed up speciation processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Benthic Species and Habitats)
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12 pages, 2622 KiB  
Article
Size/Age Models for Monitoring of the Pink Sea Fan Eunicella verrucosa (Cnidaria: Alcyonacea) and a Case Study Application
by Giovanni Chimienti, Attilio Di Nisio and Anna M.L. Lanzolla
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2020, 8(11), 951; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse8110951 - 22 Nov 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2820
Abstract
The pink sea fan Eunicella verrucosa is a habitat-forming octocoral living in the East Atlantic and in the Mediterranean Sea where, under proper circumstances, it can form large populations known as coral forests. Although these coral forests represent vulnerable marine ecosystems of great [...] Read more.
The pink sea fan Eunicella verrucosa is a habitat-forming octocoral living in the East Atlantic and in the Mediterranean Sea where, under proper circumstances, it can form large populations known as coral forests. Although these coral forests represent vulnerable marine ecosystems of great importance, these habitats are still poorly known, and their monitoring is almost non-existent to date. For this reason, we compared two different models to infer the age of E. verrucosa based on nondestructive measurements of the colonies’ size, in order to highlight strengths and weaknesses of the existing tools for a potential application in long-term monitoring. We also applied the two models on a case-study population recently found in the northwest Mediterranean Sea. Our results showed which model was more reliable from a biological point of view, considering both its structure and the results obtained on the case study. However, this model uses solely the height of the colonies as proxy to infer the age, while the total branch fan surface area could represent a more appropriate biometric parameter to monitor the size and the growth of E. verrucosa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Benthic Species and Habitats)
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14 pages, 3440 KiB  
Article
Population Structure and Reproductive Biology of the Endangered Crab Deiratonotus japonicus (Brachyura, Camptandriidae) Surveyed for Nine Years in the Kita River, Japan
by Il-Kweun Oh and Seung-Woo Lee
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2020, 8(11), 921; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse8110921 - 15 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1987
Abstract
Deiratonotus japonicus (D. japonicus) is known as a near-threatened species, because of the changing conditions of its habitat. This species resides in isolated locations and in upstream, brackish waters from Kanagawa Prefecture to Okinawa Prefecture in Japan. In this study, we [...] Read more.
Deiratonotus japonicus (D. japonicus) is known as a near-threatened species, because of the changing conditions of its habitat. This species resides in isolated locations and in upstream, brackish waters from Kanagawa Prefecture to Okinawa Prefecture in Japan. In this study, we investigated the population structure and reproductive biology of D. japonicus in the Kita River, Japan. The distribution, sex ratio, breeding season, and fecundity were assessed at bimonthly intervals during spring low-tide periods from May 2001 to November 2008 and from November 2014 to January 2016 for approximately nine years. A total of 3525 crabs were collected during the sampling period: 1806 (51.2%) males, 1240 (35.2%) non-ovigerous females, and 479 (13.6%) ovigerous females. The overall sex ratio (1:0.95) did not differ significantly from the expected 1:1 ratio. The mean maximum density was 26.1 and 36.5 indiv./m2 for the first and second sampling periods, respectively, in the sampling station 5.2 km from the Kita River mouth, and all individuals were typically found approximately 4.4–6.8 km (13.2 ± 7.8 indiv./m2) from the Kita River mouth. Carapace width (CW) ranged from 2.6 to 13.5 mm in males and from 2.8 to 13.4 mm in females and was significantly different between the two sexes (p < 0.05). Ovigerous females were found almost throughout the entire sampling period, with breeding peaks between July and September. The smallest ovigerous female had a CW of 3.9 mm. The seasonal frequency distribution suggested the continuous recruitment of young juveniles (CW < 3.9 mm) throughout the year, with peaks from September to November. The mean fecundity was 1008.3 ± 183.1 (8.3 ± 1.6 mm) eggs. Egg number in relation to CW was calculated by the formula egg number (EN) = 110.36 × CW + 90.96 (R2 = 0.948, n = 41, p < 0.0001). Regression analysis showed that fecundity was closely associated with female CW. Our results indicate that the performance of reproductive biology depends not only on continuous breeding but also on recruitment throughout the year in our study area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Benthic Species and Habitats)
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19 pages, 4080 KiB  
Article
Rhodolith Beds Heterogeneity along the Apulian Continental Shelf (Mediterranean Sea)
by Giovanni Chimienti, Lucia Rizzo, Sara Kaleb, Annalisa Falace, Simonetta Fraschetti, Francesco De Giosa, Angelo Tursi, Enrico Barbone, Nicola Ungaro and Francesco Mastrototaro
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2020, 8(10), 813; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse8100813 - 19 Oct 2020
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 2928
Abstract
Rhodolith beds represent a key habitat worldwide, from tropical to polar ecosystems. Despite this habitat is considered a hotspot of biodiversity, providing a suite of ecosystem goods and services, still scarce quantitative information is available thus far about rhodolith beds occurrence and ecological [...] Read more.
Rhodolith beds represent a key habitat worldwide, from tropical to polar ecosystems. Despite this habitat is considered a hotspot of biodiversity, providing a suite of ecosystem goods and services, still scarce quantitative information is available thus far about rhodolith beds occurrence and ecological role, especially in the Mediterranean Sea. This study reports the composition and patterns of distribution of rhodolith assemblages found in four study areas along ca. 860 km of coast in the Central Mediterranean Sea. These rhodolith beds were studied for the first time and significant differences at all spatial scales have been highlighted, documenting the high variability of this habitat. Rhodolith species composition, morphology and distribution have been discussed considering the potential role of environmental factors in driving these patterns. The need for improving their protection is discussed to complement present conservation and management initiatives, particularly in the frame of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Benthic Species and Habitats)
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14 pages, 4057 KiB  
Article
The Northward Habitat Expansion of the Korean Top Shell Turbo sazae (Gastropoda: Vetigastropoda: Turbinidae) in the Korean Peninsula: Effects of Increasing Water Temperature
by Min Ho Son, Chung Il Lee, Joo Myun Park, Hyun Jung Kim, Ralf Riedel, Inseo Hwang, Young-Nam Kim and Hae Kun Jung
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2020, 8(10), 782; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse8100782 - 07 Oct 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2432
Abstract
Recent global climate change often leads to poleward expansions of habitat range of marine organisms in response to increasing water temperature at high latitude. This study investigated latitudinal distribution patterns of Turbo sazae from 2009 to 2018 along the southern and eastern coasts [...] Read more.
Recent global climate change often leads to poleward expansions of habitat range of marine organisms in response to increasing water temperature at high latitude. This study investigated latitudinal distribution patterns of Turbo sazae from 2009 to 2018 along the southern and eastern coasts of Korea to verify whether gradual increases in seawater temperature in the East Sea/Sea of Japan (hereafter East/Japan Sea) accelerate changes in the geographic distribution of T. sazae. Between 2009 and 2018, underwater SCUBA surveys were conducted at 19 subtidal rocky shore habitats from the southern and eastern coast of the Korean Peninsula, including Jeju Island. Additionally, long-term seawater temperature records over the last 40 years (between 1980s and 2010s) from the East/Japan Sea were analyzed to verify how changes of water temperature corresponded to geographical distributions of T. sazae. The habitat range of T. sazae was found to have extended from latitude 34°02′ N to latitude 37°06′ N from 2009 to 2018. Although seawater temperature has gradually increased since the 1990s in the East/Japan Sea, habitat expansion was particularly evident during the rapid rise of coastal seawater temperature in the 2010s. Because the strong northward expansion of the Tsushima Current can accelerate the rise of seawater temperature in the East/Japan Sea, studies of the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems of the Korean Peninsula should include data from monitoring the dynamics of the Tsushima Current. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Benthic Species and Habitats)
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