Characterization and cartography of some Mediterranean soft-bottom benthic communities (Ligurian Sea, Italy)
A. Somaschini, N. Martini, M.F. Gravina, A. Belluscio, F. Corsi and G.D. Ardizzone
Soft-bottom benthic communities were studied along the Western coast of the Ligurian Sea with a new approach using both videocamera surveys and collected samples. The preliminary distribution of soft-bottoms and the definition of the limits and status of seagrass beds were carried out in September 1991, using an underwater vehicle provided with a videocamera and towed by a boat. Moreover, 90 benthic samples were collected at 5-40 m depth in order to characterize the macrobenthic soft-bottom communities. Six soft-bottom benthic assemblages and two sea grass biotopes (Cymodocea nodosa and Posidonia oceanica) were revealed by means of underwater images and multivariate analysis (TWINSPAN) on samples collected. The communities inhabiting the infralittoral sandy and coarse sediments corresponded to those previously described in the Mediterranean Sea, whereas a large complex transition between sandy and muddy communities was recognized on circalittoral soft-bottoms. Information obtained with this approach was used to draw a map of the investigated areas at 1:10,000 scale. The employment of the two techniques was cost effective for both time and research effort.
Sci. Mar. 62(1-2) : 27-36
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