Scientia Marina, Forthcoming Articles

Large-scale distribution of a deep-sea megafauna community along Mediterranean trawlable grounds


https://doi.org/10.3989/scimar.04852.14A

Ulla Fernandez-Arcaya
Intituto Español de Oceanografia, Centre Oceanogràfic de les Balears, Spain
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5588-3520

Isabella Bitetto
COISPA Tecnologia & Ricerca, Italy
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-8497-1642

Antonio Esteban
Intituto Español de Oceanografia, Centro Oceanográfico de Murcia, Spain
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-2896-7972

M. Teresa Farriols
Intituto Español de Oceanografia, Centre Oceanogràfic de les Balears, Spain
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7704-6504

Cristina García-Ruiz
Intituto Español de Oceanografia, Centro Oceanográfico de Malaga, Spain
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2767-4200

Luis Gil de Sola
Intituto Español de Oceanografia, Centro Oceanográfico de Malaga, Spain
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1987-9716

Beatriz Guijarro
Intituto Español de Oceanografia, Centre Oceanogràfic de les Balears, Spain
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-2083-4681

Angélique Jadaud
UMR Marbec, Ifremer, IRD, Université de Montpellier, CNRS, France
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6858-3570

Stefanos Kavadas
Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (IMBRIW/HCMR), Greece
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0003-3473-9084

Giuseppe Lembo
COISPA Tecnologia & Ricerca, Italy
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-9899-6189

Giacomo Milisenda
Institute for Coastal Marine Environment (IAMC), National Research Council (CNR) - Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli, Italy
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1334-9749

Irida Maina
Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (IMBRIW/HCMR), Greece
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5244-2722

Slavica Petovic
University of Montenegro-Institute of Marine Biology, Montenegro
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6080-1959

Letizia Sion
University of Bari Aldo Moro (UNIBA), Department of Biology, Italy
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-0308-1841

Sandrine Vaz
UMR Marbec, Ifremer, IRD, Université de Montpellier, CNRS, France
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7365-8335

Enric Massutí
Intituto Español de Oceanografia, Centre Oceanogràfic de les Balears, Spain
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-9524-5873

Abstract


The large-scale distribution pattern of megafauna communities along the Mediterranean middle slope was explored. The study was conducted between 500 and 800 m depth where deep-water fishery occurs. Although community studies carried out deeper than 500 m are partly available for some geographic areas, few large-scale comparative studies have been carried out. Within the framework of the MEDITS survey programme, we compared the megafauna community structure in ten geographical sub-areas (GSAs) along the Mediterranean coasts. Additionally, the spatial distribution of fishing was analysed using vessel monitoring by satellite information. Overall, the community showed a significant difference between sub-areas, with a decreasing eastward pattern in abundance and biomass. Longitude was the main factor explaining variation among sub-areas (by generalized additive models). However, we found a region which did not follow the general pattern. GSA 6 (northern Spain) showed significantly lower abundance and a different composition structure to the adjacent areas. The decrease in community descriptors (i.e. abundance and biomass) in this area is probably a symptom of population changes induced by intense fishery exploitation. Overall, a combination of environmental variables and human-induced impacts appears to influence the bentho-pelagic communities along the slope areas of the Mediterranean.

Keywords


distribution pattern; fishing impact; continental slope; deep sea; megafauna; red shrimp; community

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