Scientia Marina, Vol 71, No 1 (2007)

Sediment as a constituent of Mediterranean benthic communities dominated by Caulerpa racemosa var. cylindracea

Luigi Piazzi
Dipartimento di Biologia, Università di Pisa, Pisa, Italy

David Balata
Dipartimento di Biologia, Università di Pisa, Pisa, Italy

Luca Foresi
Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università di Siena, Siena, Italy

Cristina Cristaudo
Dipartimento di Biologia, Università di Pisa, Pisa, Italy

Francesco Cinelli
Dipartimento di Biologia, Università di Pisa, Pisa, Italy


Mediterranean macroalgal assemblages in areas invaded and non-invaded by Caulerpa racemosa var. cylindracea were compared and trapped sediments were characterised. Results showed that assemblages invaded by C. racemosa var. cylindracea differed greatly from non-invaded ones: encrusting and erect algae, both articulated and foliose, decreased in invaded areas, while opportunistic filamentous species increased their abundance The percentage of sediment was 7 times higher in areas invaded by C. racemosa var. cylindracea than in non-invaded areas. Characteristics of trapped sediments were similar in all the studied assemblages, while redox values were lower in the invaded ones. Results suggested that sediment constitutes an important component in C. racemosa var. cylindracea populations, probably enhancing the competitive ability of this species.


biological invasions; Caulerpa racemosa; macroalgal assemblages; Mediterranean Sea; sediments

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