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Density, size structure, shell orientation and epibiontic colonization of the fan mussel Pinna nobilis L. 1758 (Mollusca: Bivalvia) in three contrasting habitats in an estuarine area of Sardinia (W Mediterranean)
Piero Addis, Marco Secci, Gianni Brundu, Andrea Manunza, Stefano Corrias and Angelo Cau

We investigated the spatial distribution, size structure, shell orientation and valve colonization by epibionts of the endangered Mediterranean bivalve Pinna nobilis in three continuous but different habitats in the Gulf of Oristano (Sardinia, western Mediterranean). The sampling stations chosen were: an estuarine area (E) of coastal salt-marshes characterized by unvegetated sea-bottoms; and two areas in a seagrass meadow characterized by an extensive Posidonia oceanica meadow (Mw) and patched mixed meadows of P. oceanica and Cymodocea nodosa (Me). We found significant differences in mean densities among stations and the highest value was found in the estuarine area. Shell orientation showed that there was uniform circular distribution of specimens in the Mw station and a unimodal distribution in the Me and E stations, where specimens were set at 0°N and 10°NNE, which is a pattern related to sea drift. Shell epibiosis displayed differences between habitats. The highest valve colonization was in the estuary, with filamentous dark algae and Ostrea edulis reaching almost 90 percent of shell coverage. This study provides new information on habitat preferences and data for assessing local populations of P. nobilis that is useful for its conservation and improving the knowledge of its ecology.

Keywords: Pinna nobilis, Bivalvia, endangered species, population density, size distribution, epibiosis, Sardinia, western Mediterranean.
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 73(1) : 143-152 Back PDF
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