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Decapod crustacean assemblages from littoral bottoms of the Alborán Sea (Spain, west Mediterranean Sea): spatial and temporal variability
José Enrique García Muñoz, María Eugenia Manjón-Cabeza and José Enrique García Raso

The structure of decapod crustacean assemblages living in shallow waters (5 to 25 m depth) in an area of the Alborán Sea (Mediterranean Sea) neighbouring the Strait of Gibraltar was studied. The relatively high richness found in this area is probably due to the diversity of substrata and the confluence of Atlantic and Mediterranean waters. The most abundant species was the hermit crab Diogenes pugilator due to the prevalence of sandy substrate, the shallow depth-range, and the species’ life history. The coralligenous bottom showed the highest species richness and diversity values due to the complexity of microhabitats in this type of bottom and probably due to the food flux associated with currents. Conversely, shallow, well calibrated, fine to medium sandy bottoms of 5 m had the lowest values and the maximum densities due to the high abundance of a few well adapted species. The analysis of the different stations showed significant spatial differences according to depth and sedimentary characteristics. Depth is the environmental variable that correlates best with the decapod assemblages, with a particularly significant boundary between 5 m and 15 m. Nevertheless, there was a continuous transition between the assemblages. These results evidence the importance of quantitative studies in differentiating decapod assemblages. Relationships between these assemblages should also be taken into account in coastal management, since altering a substrate could have repercussions for the structure of the communities of neighbouring substrates. No seasonal significant differences were found in the overall analysis of the area, but there were differences between spring and autumn and spring and summer in relation to depth and substrate (crossed analysis). Finally, we present the species which allow us to discriminate the different assemblages according to sediment and depth, as well as the species’ contributions.

Keywords: Crustacea Decapoda, biodiversity, structure of assemblages, spatial distributions and relationships, Alborán, Mediterranean.
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 72(3) : 437-449 Back PDF
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