Scientia Marina, Vol 75, No 2 (2011)

Biodiversity of deep-sea demersal megafauna in western and central Mediterranean basins

Samuele Tecchio
Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC) , Spain

Eva Ramírez-Llodra
Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC) , Spain

Francisco Sardà
Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC) , Spain

Joan Baptista Company
Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC) , Spain


Abundance, biomass and diversity patterns of bathyal and abyssal Mediterranean megafauna (fishes and invertebrates) were analyzed in the western Balearic Sea, the western Ionian Sea and the eastern Ionian Sea. Sampling was conducted with a Otter-trawl Maireta System (OTMS) at depths ranging from 600 to 4000 m. A series of ecological indicators were computed: total abundance and biomass, Margalef species richness, Shannon-Wiener diversity and Pielou’s index of evenness. A multidimensional scaling was applied, indicating that the megafauna communities were grouped by depth, while geographic area had a less defined influence. Margalef richness declined with depth in all three areas, but more steeply in the western Ionian Sea. Pielou’s evenness behaved differently in the three zones, showing a V-shaped curve in the eastern Ionian while showing a decreasing pattern in the other two areas. At lower slope depths, massive presence of the fishes Alepocephalus rostratus in the western basin and Bathypterois mediterraneus in the central basin caused a sharp reduction in evenness.


diversity; megafauna; deep sea; western Mediterranean; western Ionian; eastern Ionian

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