Analysis of demersal fish assemblages of the Tuscany and Latium coasts (north-western Mediterranean)
Keywords:assemblages, cluster analysis, demersal resources, western Mediterranean
A four-year time series (1994-1997) of groundfish trawl surveys performed within the European Union Project MEDITS (Mediterranean International Trawl Surveys), was analysed to identify and describe the fish assemblages along the continental shelf and slope of Tuscany and Latium (Italy), in the north-western Mediterranean. Cluster analysis was used to group samples with similar species composition in terms of abundance, biomass and frequency of occurrence. Results allowed the identification of four to five broad assemblages along the depth gradient: a strictly coastal group (< 50 m depth), two groups in the upper and lower part of the continental shelf (essentially 50-200 m), an epibathyal group (200-450 m) and a group derived from hauls made at depths greater than 450 m. Each assemblage corresponded to a faunistic association with relatively homogeneous and persistent species composition, biomass and density indices.
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