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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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Biodiversity hot spots for Mediterranean vertebrate species of special conservation concern.This figure includes 110 critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, or near threatened species. Results are predictions based on AquaMaps model [80, and File S2] and generated using a probability threshold of occurrence of ≥0.4 to highlight likely areas of critical habitat for each species. Colors express species occurrence from blue (little occurrence) to red (highest occurrence). The size of the cell is 0.5×0.5 degree.
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pone-0011842-g012: Biodiversity hot spots for Mediterranean vertebrate species of special conservation concern.This figure includes 110 critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, or near threatened species. Results are predictions based on AquaMaps model [80, and File S2] and generated using a probability threshold of occurrence of ≥0.4 to highlight likely areas of critical habitat for each species. Colors express species occurrence from blue (little occurrence) to red (highest occurrence). The size of the cell is 0.5×0.5 degree.

Mentions: Taking into account data regarding marine biodiversity and threats, we mapped vertebrate endangered species and have tried to locate potential hot spot areas of special concern for conservation in the Mediterranean (Figure 12). The first attempt included fish, marine mammals, and sea turtles, which are considered important sentinels for ocean health. The identified hot spots highlighted the ecological importance of most of the western Mediterranean shelves. The Strait of Gibraltar and adjacent Alboran Sea and African coast were identified as representing important habitat for many threatened or endangered vertebrate species. The most threatened invertebrate species in the Mediterranean, the limpet Patella ferruginea, is also distributed along this area [293]. Both the northern Adriatic and Aegean seas also showed concentrations of endangered, threatened, or vulnerable species. Other equally species-rich waters along the northeast African coast, and the southern Adriatic Sea, were of lesser concern for the protection of endangered species.


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)

Biodiversity hot spots for Mediterranean vertebrate species of special conservation concern.This figure includes 110 critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, or near threatened species. Results are predictions based on AquaMaps model [80, and File S2] and generated using a probability threshold of occurrence of ≥0.4 to highlight likely areas of critical habitat for each species. Colors express species occurrence from blue (little occurrence) to red (highest occurrence). The size of the cell is 0.5×0.5 degree.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0011842-g012: Biodiversity hot spots for Mediterranean vertebrate species of special conservation concern.This figure includes 110 critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, or near threatened species. Results are predictions based on AquaMaps model [80, and File S2] and generated using a probability threshold of occurrence of ≥0.4 to highlight likely areas of critical habitat for each species. Colors express species occurrence from blue (little occurrence) to red (highest occurrence). The size of the cell is 0.5×0.5 degree.
Mentions: Taking into account data regarding marine biodiversity and threats, we mapped vertebrate endangered species and have tried to locate potential hot spot areas of special concern for conservation in the Mediterranean (Figure 12). The first attempt included fish, marine mammals, and sea turtles, which are considered important sentinels for ocean health. The identified hot spots highlighted the ecological importance of most of the western Mediterranean shelves. The Strait of Gibraltar and adjacent Alboran Sea and African coast were identified as representing important habitat for many threatened or endangered vertebrate species. The most threatened invertebrate species in the Mediterranean, the limpet Patella ferruginea, is also distributed along this area [293]. Both the northern Adriatic and Aegean seas also showed concentrations of endangered, threatened, or vulnerable species. Other equally species-rich waters along the northeast African coast, and the southern Adriatic Sea, were of lesser concern for the protection of endangered species.

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