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The biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea: estimates, patterns, and threats.

Coll M, Piroddi C, Steenbeek J, Kaschner K, Ben Rais Lasram F, Aguzzi J, Ballesteros E, Bianchi CN, Corbera J, Dailianis T, Danovaro R, Estrada M, Froglia C, Galil BS, Gasol JM, Gertwagen R, Gil J, Guilhaumon F, Kesner-Reyes K, Kitsos MS, Koukouras A, Lampadariou N, Laxamana E, López-Fé de la Cuadra CM, Lotze HK, Martin D, Mouillot D, Oro D, Raicevich S, Rius-Barile J, Saiz-Salinas JI, San Vicente C, Somot S, Templado J, Turon X, Vafidis D, Villanueva R, Voultsiadou E - PLoS ONE (2010)

Bottom Line: Our results listed approximately 17,000 marine species occurring in the Mediterranean Sea.Biodiversity was also generally higher in coastal areas and continental shelves, and decreases with depth.This abstract has been translated to other languages (File S1).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institut de Ciències del Mar, Scientific Spanish Council (ICM-CSIC), Barcelona, Spain. mcoll@icm.csic.es

ABSTRACT
The Mediterranean Sea is a marine biodiversity hot spot. Here we combined an extensive literature analysis with expert opinions to update publicly available estimates of major taxa in this marine ecosystem and to revise and update several species lists. We also assessed overall spatial and temporal patterns of species diversity and identified major changes and threats. Our results listed approximately 17,000 marine species occurring in the Mediterranean Sea. However, our estimates of marine diversity are still incomplete as yet-undescribed species will be added in the future. Diversity for microbes is substantially underestimated, and the deep-sea areas and portions of the southern and eastern region are still poorly known. In addition, the invasion of alien species is a crucial factor that will continue to change the biodiversity of the Mediterranean, mainly in its eastern basin that can spread rapidly northwards and westwards due to the warming of the Mediterranean Sea. Spatial patterns showed a general decrease in biodiversity from northwestern to southeastern regions following a gradient of production, with some exceptions and caution due to gaps in our knowledge of the biota along the southern and eastern rims. Biodiversity was also generally higher in coastal areas and continental shelves, and decreases with depth. Temporal trends indicated that overexploitation and habitat loss have been the main human drivers of historical changes in biodiversity. At present, habitat loss and degradation, followed by fishing impacts, pollution, climate change, eutrophication, and the establishment of alien species are the most important threats and affect the greatest number of taxonomic groups. All these impacts are expected to grow in importance in the future, especially climate change and habitat degradation. The spatial identification of hot spots highlighted the ecological importance of most of the western Mediterranean shelves (and in particular, the Strait of Gibraltar and the adjacent Alboran Sea), western African coast, the Adriatic, and the Aegean Sea, which show high concentrations of endangered, threatened, or vulnerable species. The Levantine Basin, severely impacted by the invasion of species, is endangered as well. This abstract has been translated to other languages (File S1).

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Patterns of benthic biodiversity in the deep sea of the Mediterranean.(A) Longitudinal patterns, and (B) bathymetric patterns of benthic nematodes along the open slopes of the European margins. Benthic biodiversity is estimated as the total number of meiofaunal taxa, and as nematode species richness (expected number of nematode species for a theoretical sample of 51 specimens).
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pone-0011842-g004: Patterns of benthic biodiversity in the deep sea of the Mediterranean.(A) Longitudinal patterns, and (B) bathymetric patterns of benthic nematodes along the open slopes of the European margins. Benthic biodiversity is estimated as the total number of meiofaunal taxa, and as nematode species richness (expected number of nematode species for a theoretical sample of 51 specimens).

Mentions: Spatial patterns of benthic biodiversity in the deep sea are poorly known in comparison with other ecosystems. Available information is scarce and our maps and estimates include only approximations for the deep sea. In this context, metazoan meiofauna and, in particular, nematodes can be used to describe the biodiversity patterns in the deep sea. Deep-sea nematode diversity appears to be related to that of other benthic components such as foraminifers [218], macrofauna [219], and the richness of higher meiofauna taxa in the deep sea [220]. Results for the deep sea of the Mediterranean show a clear longitudinal biodiversity gradient that also occurs along the open slopes, where values decrease eastward, from Catalonia to the margins of southern Crete (Figure 4a). The analysis of the Nematoda indicates that at equally deep sites, nematode diversity decreases from the western to the eastern basin and longitudinal gradients are evident when comparing sites at 3,000 m or 1,000 m depth [195]. Complementary information on spatial patterns of the deep Mediterranean fauna can be found in [180].


The biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea: estimates, patterns, and threats.

Coll M, Piroddi C, Steenbeek J, Kaschner K, Ben Rais Lasram F, Aguzzi J, Ballesteros E, Bianchi CN, Corbera J, Dailianis T, Danovaro R, Estrada M, Froglia C, Galil BS, Gasol JM, Gertwagen R, Gil J, Guilhaumon F, Kesner-Reyes K, Kitsos MS, Koukouras A, Lampadariou N, Laxamana E, López-Fé de la Cuadra CM, Lotze HK, Martin D, Mouillot D, Oro D, Raicevich S, Rius-Barile J, Saiz-Salinas JI, San Vicente C, Somot S, Templado J, Turon X, Vafidis D, Villanueva R, Voultsiadou E - PLoS ONE (2010)

Patterns of benthic biodiversity in the deep sea of the Mediterranean.(A) Longitudinal patterns, and (B) bathymetric patterns of benthic nematodes along the open slopes of the European margins. Benthic biodiversity is estimated as the total number of meiofaunal taxa, and as nematode species richness (expected number of nematode species for a theoretical sample of 51 specimens).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2914016&req=5

pone-0011842-g004: Patterns of benthic biodiversity in the deep sea of the Mediterranean.(A) Longitudinal patterns, and (B) bathymetric patterns of benthic nematodes along the open slopes of the European margins. Benthic biodiversity is estimated as the total number of meiofaunal taxa, and as nematode species richness (expected number of nematode species for a theoretical sample of 51 specimens).
Mentions: Spatial patterns of benthic biodiversity in the deep sea are poorly known in comparison with other ecosystems. Available information is scarce and our maps and estimates include only approximations for the deep sea. In this context, metazoan meiofauna and, in particular, nematodes can be used to describe the biodiversity patterns in the deep sea. Deep-sea nematode diversity appears to be related to that of other benthic components such as foraminifers [218], macrofauna [219], and the richness of higher meiofauna taxa in the deep sea [220]. Results for the deep sea of the Mediterranean show a clear longitudinal biodiversity gradient that also occurs along the open slopes, where values decrease eastward, from Catalonia to the margins of southern Crete (Figure 4a). The analysis of the Nematoda indicates that at equally deep sites, nematode diversity decreases from the western to the eastern basin and longitudinal gradients are evident when comparing sites at 3,000 m or 1,000 m depth [195]. Complementary information on spatial patterns of the deep Mediterranean fauna can be found in [180].

Bottom Line: Our results listed approximately 17,000 marine species occurring in the Mediterranean Sea.Biodiversity was also generally higher in coastal areas and continental shelves, and decreases with depth.This abstract has been translated to other languages (File S1).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institut de Ciències del Mar, Scientific Spanish Council (ICM-CSIC), Barcelona, Spain. mcoll@icm.csic.es

ABSTRACT
The Mediterranean Sea is a marine biodiversity hot spot. Here we combined an extensive literature analysis with expert opinions to update publicly available estimates of major taxa in this marine ecosystem and to revise and update several species lists. We also assessed overall spatial and temporal patterns of species diversity and identified major changes and threats. Our results listed approximately 17,000 marine species occurring in the Mediterranean Sea. However, our estimates of marine diversity are still incomplete as yet-undescribed species will be added in the future. Diversity for microbes is substantially underestimated, and the deep-sea areas and portions of the southern and eastern region are still poorly known. In addition, the invasion of alien species is a crucial factor that will continue to change the biodiversity of the Mediterranean, mainly in its eastern basin that can spread rapidly northwards and westwards due to the warming of the Mediterranean Sea. Spatial patterns showed a general decrease in biodiversity from northwestern to southeastern regions following a gradient of production, with some exceptions and caution due to gaps in our knowledge of the biota along the southern and eastern rims. Biodiversity was also generally higher in coastal areas and continental shelves, and decreases with depth. Temporal trends indicated that overexploitation and habitat loss have been the main human drivers of historical changes in biodiversity. At present, habitat loss and degradation, followed by fishing impacts, pollution, climate change, eutrophication, and the establishment of alien species are the most important threats and affect the greatest number of taxonomic groups. All these impacts are expected to grow in importance in the future, especially climate change and habitat degradation. The spatial identification of hot spots highlighted the ecological importance of most of the western Mediterranean shelves (and in particular, the Strait of Gibraltar and the adjacent Alboran Sea), western African coast, the Adriatic, and the Aegean Sea, which show high concentrations of endangered, threatened, or vulnerable species. The Levantine Basin, severely impacted by the invasion of species, is endangered as well. This abstract has been translated to other languages (File S1).

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus