| More

On the role of turf species as refuge in disturbed environments: A case study with polychaetes (Annelida: Polychaeta) in SW Mediterranean Sea

Views: 333 Downloads: 174


During the summer of 2014, a field survey was conducted in several littoral rocky sites on the southeastern coast of Spain. In this area, dense canopies of Cystoseira mediterranea characterize undisturbed locations and cover most of the available infralittoral fringe. Turfs composed mainly of the coralline algae Ellisolandia elongata replace the canopy in locations where some kind of anthropogenic disturbance has occurred. The main goal of this study was to compare the polychaete fauna dwelling within the two types of phytal substratum, and several univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to detect significant differences between the two assemblages. The analyses showed that the assemblage inhabiting E. elongata was characterized by a higher population density of polychaetes and was dominated by herbivores and filter-feeders, especially Fabricia stellaris and Amphiglena mediterranea. Polychaetes were less abundant in pristine sites covered by Cystoseira mediterranea, although a-diversity was slightly higher. This assemblage was characterized by a predominance of omnivores followed by herbivores, and by high relative abundances of Syllis prolifera and Salvatoria clavata. However, none of the detected differences was statistically significant and site to site comparison showed that differences between locations with the same phytal cover were similarly deep. Our data point out that the assemblage inhabiting turf algae in the region studied is not substantially different to that found in pristine areas and that this type of phytal covering can act as effective refuge for polychaetes under moderately disturbed condition.  


Turf algae; canopy algae; Polychaeta.

Full Text:



Anderson, M. J., 2001. A new method for non-parametric multivariate analysis of variance. Austral Ecology, 26, 32-46.

Antoniadou, C., Chintiriglou, C., 2006. Trophic relationships of polychaetes associated with different algal growth forms. Helgoland Marine Research, 60, 39-49.

Araújo, R., Sousa-Pinto, I., Bárbara, I., Quintino, V., 2016. Macroalgal communities of intertidal rock pools in the northwest coast of Portugal. Acta Oecologica, 30, 192-202.

Airoldi, L., Virgilio, M., 1998. Responses of turf-forming algae to spatial variations in the deposition of sediments. Marine Ecology-Progress Series, 165, 271-268.

Asnaghi, V., Thrush, S.F., Hewitt, J.E., Mangialajo, L., Cattaneo- Vietti, R. et al., 2015. Colonisation processes and the role of coralline algae in rocky shore community dynamics. Journal of Sea Research, 95, 132-138.

Benedetti-Cecchi, L., Maggi, E., Bertocci, I., Vaselli, S., Micheli, F. et al., 2003. Variation in rocky shore assemblages in the northwestern Mediterranean: contrasts between islands and the mainland. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 293, 193-215.

Benedetti-Cecchi, L., Pannacciulli, F., Bulleri, F., Moschella, P.S., Airoldi, L. et al., 2001. Predicting the consequences of anthropogenic disturbance: large-scale effects of loss of canopy algae on rocky shores. Marine Ecology-Progress Series, 214, 137-150.

Berthelsen, A.K., Hewitt, J.E., Taylor, R.B., 2015. Coralline turf-associated fauna are affected more by spatial variability than by host species identity. Marine Biodiversity, 45, 689-699.

Bertocci, I., Arenas, F., Matias, M., Vaselli, S., Araújo, R. et al., 2010. Canopy-forming species mediate the effects of disturbance on macroalgal assemblages on Portuguese rocky shores. Marine Ecology-Progress Series, 414, 107-116.

Blanfuné, A., Boudouresque, C.F., Verlaque, M., Thibaut, T., 2016. The fate of Cystoseira crinita, a forest-forming Fucale (Phaeophyceae, Stramenopiles), in France (North Western Mediterranean Sea). Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 181, 196-208.

Borja, A., Bricker, S.B., Dauer, D.M., Demetriades, N.T., Ferreira, J.G. et al., 2008. Overview of integrative tools and methods in assessing ecological integrity in estuarine and coastal systems worldwide. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 56, 1519-1537.

Borja, A., Franco, J., Pérez, V., 2000. A marine biotic index to establish the ecological quality of soft-bottom benthos within European estuarine and coastal environments. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 40, 1100-1114.

Bulleri, F., Benedetti-Cecchi, L., Acunto, S., Cinelli, F., Hawkins, S.J., 2002. The influences of canopy algae on vertical 239 patterns of distribution of low-shore assemblages on rocky coasts in the northwest Mediterranean. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 267, 89-106.

Buschbaum, C., Chapman, A.S., Saier, B., 2006. How an introduced seaweed can affect epibiota diversity in different ecosystems. Marine Biology, 148, 743-754.

Bustamante, M., Tajadura, J., Gorostiaga, J.M., Saiz-Salinas, J.I., 2014. Response of rocky invertebrate diversity, structure and function to the vertical layering of vegetation. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 147, 148-155.

Cacabelos, E., Martins, G.M., Thompson, R., Prestes, A.C.L., Azevedo, J.M.N. et al., 2016. Factors limiting the establishment of canopy-forming algae on artificial structures. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 181, 277-283.

Cacabelos, E., Olabarria, C., Incera, M., Troncoso, J.S., 2010. Effects of habitat structure and tidal height on epifaunal assemblages associated with macroalgae. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 89, 43-52.

Cardell, M. J., 1990. Ecological characteristics of a population of Fabricia sabella (Ehrenberg) (Polychaea Sabellidae) in the “trottoirs” of Lythophyllum tortuosum Foslie. Scientia Marina, 54, 305-310.

Casoli, E., Bonifazi, A., Ardizzone, G., Gravina M.F., 2016. How algae influence sessile marine organisms: The tube worms case of study. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 178, 12-20.

Chemello, R., Milazzo, M., 2002. Effect of algal architecture on associated fauna: Some evidence from phytal molluscs. Marine Biology, 140, 981-990.

Clarke, K.R., Gorley, R.N., 2006. PRIMER V6: User Manual/ Tutorial. PRIMER-E, Plymouth. Clarke, K.R., Warwick, R.M. 1994. Change in marine communities: An approach to statistical analysis and interpretation. Natural Environment Research Council, UK / Bourne Press, Ltd. Bournemouth, 144 pp.

Dafforn, K.A., Kelaher, B.P., Simpson, S.L., Coleman, M.A., Hutchings, P.A., et al., 2013. Polychaete richness and abundance enhanced in anthropogenically modified estuaries despite high concentrations of toxic contaminants. PLoS ONE, 8 (9), e77018.

Dauvin, J.C., Ruellet, T., 2007. Polychate/Amphipod ratio revisited. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 55, 215-224.

Dorgham, M.M., Hamdy, R., El-Rashidy, H.H., Atta, M.M., Musco, L., 2014. Distribution patterns of shallow water polychaetes (Annelida) along the coast of Alexandria, Egypt (eastern Mediterranean). Mediterranean Marine Science, 15/3, 635-649.

Dubois, S., Retière, C., Olivier, F., 2002. Biodiversity associated with Sabellaria alveolata (Poychaeta: Sabellariidae) reefs: Effects of human disturbances. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 82, 817-826.

Fraschetti, S., Giangrande, A., Terlizzi, A., Miglietta, M.P., Della Tommasa, L. et al., 2002. Spatio-temporal variation of hydroids and polychaetes associated to Cystoseira amentacea (Fucales, Phaeophyceae): A regional scale approach. Marine Biology, 140, 949-957.

Gestoso, I., Olabarría, C., Troncoso, J.S., 2010. Variability of epifaunal assemblages associated with native and invasive macroalgae. Marine and Freshwater Research, 61, 724-731.

Giangrande, A., Delos, A.L., Faschetti, S., Musco, L., Licciano, M. et al., 2003. Polychaete assemblages along a rocky shore on the South Adriatic coast (Mediterranean Sea): Patterns of spatial distribution. Marine Biology, 143, 1109-1116.

Giangrande, A., Licciano, M., Musco, L., 2005. Polychaetes as environmental indicators revisited. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 50(11), 1153-1162.

Giangrande, A., Licciano, M., Pagliara, P., 2000. The diversity of diets in Syllidae (Annelida: Polychaeta). Cahiers de Biologie Marine, 41, 55-65.

Hammer, Ø., Harper, D.A.T., Ryan, P.D., 2001. PAST: Paleontological Statistics software package for education and data analysis. Paleontologia electronica, 9, 4. López, E., Viéitez, J.M., 1999. Polychaete assemblages on nonencrusting infralittoral algae from the Chafarinas Islands (SW Mediterranean). Cahiers de Biologie Marine, 40, 375-384.

Luque, Á.A., Templado, J., Moreno, D., Barrajón, A., Cuesta, S. et al., 2004. Cartografiado y evaluación de las praderas de Posidonia oceanica de Almería. p. 255-269. In: Praderas y Bosques Marinos de Andalucía. Luque, Á.A, Templado, J. (Eds.) Consejería de Medio Ambiente, Junta de Andalucía, Seville.

Mangialajo, L., Ruggieri, N., Asnaghi, V., Chiantore, M., Povero, P. et al., 2007. Ecological status in the Ligurian Sea: The effect of coastline urbanisation and the importance of proper reference sites. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 55, 30-41.

Musco, L., 2012. Ecology and diversity of Mediterranean hardbottom Syllidae (Annelida): A community-level approach. Marine Ecology-Progress Series, 461,107-119. Olsgard, F., Brattegard, T., Holthe, T., 2003. Polychaetes as surrogates for marine biodiversity: Lower resolution and indicator groups. Biodiversity and Conservartion, 12, 1033-1049.

Orfanidis, S., Panayotidis, P., Ugland, K.I., 2011. Ecological Evaluation Index continuous formula (EEI-c) application: A step forward for functional groups, the formula and reference condition values. Mediterranean Marine Science, 12, 199-231.

Parapar, J., Alós, C., Núñez, J., Moreira, J., López, E. et al., 2012. Annelida, Polychaeta III. p. 1-416. In: Fauna Ibérica. Volumen 36. Ramos, M.A., Alba, J., Bellés, X., Gosálbez, J., Guerra, A. et al. (Eds.). Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales/CSIC, Madrid.

Parapar, J., Moreira, J., Núñez, J., Barnich, R., Brito, M.C. et al., 2015. Annelida, Polychaeta IV. p. 1-416. In: Fauna Ibérica. Volumen 41. Ramos, M.A., Alba, J., Bellés, X., Gosálbez, J., Guerra, A. et al. (Eds.). Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales/CSIC, Madrid.

Pinedo, S., García, M., Satta, M.P., de Torres, M., Ballesteros, E., 2007. Rocky-shore communities as indicators of water quality: A case study in the Northwestern Mediterranean. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 55, 126-135.

Raffaeli, D., Hawkins, S., 1999. Intertidal Ecology. Second edition. Kluwer Academic Press. Dordrecht. 356 pp. Sales, M., Ballesteros, E., 2009. Shallow Cystoseira (Fucales: Ochrophyta) assemblages thriving in sheltered areas from Menorca (NW Mediterranean): Relationships with environmental factors and anthropogenic pressures, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 84, 476-482.

San Martín, G., 2003. Annelida, Polychaeta II: Syllidae. p. 1-554. In: Fauna Ibérica. Volumen 21. Ramos, M.A., Alba, J., Bellés, X., Gosálbez, J., Guerra, A. et al. (Eds.). Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales/CSIC, Madrid.

Sánchez Lizaso, J.L. 2004. Impactos sobre las praderas de Posidonia oceanica. p. 127-132. In: Praderas y Bosques Marinos de Andalucía. Luque, Á.A, Templado, J. (Eds.) Consejería de Medio Ambiente, Junta de Andalucía, Seville.

Strain, E.M.A., Thomson, R.J., Micheli, F., Mancuso, F.P., Airoldi, L., 2014. Identifying the interacting roles of stressors in driving the global loss of canopy-forming to mat-forming algae in marine ecosystems. Global Change Biology, 20(11), 3300-3312.

Taylor, R.B., Steinberg, P.D., 2005. Host use by Australasian seaweed mesograzers in relation to feeding preferences of larger grazers. Ecology, 86(11), 2955-2967.

Tena, J., Capaccioni-Azzati, R., Torres-Gavila, F.J., García-Carrascosa, A.M., 2000. Polychaetes associated with different facies of the photophilic algal community in the Chafarinas Archipelago (SW Mediterranean). Bulletin of Marine Science, 67(1), 55-72.

Thrush, S.F., Chiantore, M., Asnaghi, V., Hewitt, J., Fiorentino, D. et al., 2011. Habitat-diversity relationships in rocky shore algal turf infaunal communities. Marine Ecology- Progress Series, 424, 119-132.

Underwood, A.J., 1997. Experiments in Ecology. Their local design and interpretation using analysis of variance. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, 504 pp. Underwood, A.J., Chapman, M.G., Richards, S., 2002. GMAV-5 for Windows. An Analysis of Variance Program. Centre for Research on Ecological Impacts of Coastal Cities, Marine Ecology Laboratory, University of Sydney. Sydney.

Vázquez-Luis, M., Sánchez-Jerez, P., Bayle-Sempere, J.T., 2008. Changes in amphipod (Crustacea) assemblages associated with shallow-water algal habitats invades by Caulerpa racemosa var. cylindracea in the western Mediterranean Sea. Marine Environmental Research, 65, 416-426.

Viéitez, J.M., Alós, C., Parapar, J., Besteiro, C., Moreira, J. et al., 2004. Annelida, Polychaeta I. p. 1-530. In: Fauna Ibérica. Volumen 25. Ramos, M.A., Alba, J., Bellés, X., Gosálbez, J., Guerra, A. et al. (Eds.). Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales/CSIC, Madrid.


  • There are currently no refbacks.