Document Detail

The structure of Mediterranean rocky reef ecosystems across environmental and human gradients, and conservation implications.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22393445     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Historical exploitation of the Mediterranean Sea and the absence of rigorous baselines makes it difficult to evaluate the current health of the marine ecosystems and the efficacy of conservation actions at the ecosystem level. Here we establish the first current baseline and gradient of ecosystem structure of nearshore rocky reefs at the Mediterranean scale. We conducted underwater surveys in 14 marine protected areas and 18 open access sites across the Mediterranean, and across a 31-fold range of fish biomass (from 3.8 to 118 g m(-2)). Our data showed remarkable variation in the structure of rocky reef ecosystems. Multivariate analysis showed three alternative community states: (1) large fish biomass and reefs dominated by non-canopy algae, (2) lower fish biomass but abundant native algal canopies and suspension feeders, and (3) low fish biomass and extensive barrens, with areas covered by turf algae. Our results suggest that the healthiest shallow rocky reef ecosystems in the Mediterranean have both large fish and algal biomass. Protection level and primary production were the only variables significantly correlated to community biomass structure. Fish biomass was significantly larger in well-enforced no-take marine reserves, but there were no significant differences between multi-use marine protected areas (which allow some fishing) and open access areas at the regional scale. The gradients reported here represent a trajectory of degradation that can be used to assess the health of any similar habitat in the Mediterranean, and to evaluate the efficacy of marine protected areas.
Enric Sala; Enric Ballesteros; Panagiotis Dendrinos; Antonio Di Franco; Francesco Ferretti; David Foley; Simonetta Fraschetti; Alan Friedlander; Joaquim Garrabou; Harun Güçlüsoy; Paolo Guidetti; Benjamin S Halpern; Bernat Hereu; Alexandros A Karamanlidis; Zafer Kizilkaya; Enrique Macpherson; Luisa Mangialajo; Simone Mariani; Fiorenza Micheli; Antonio Pais; Kristin Riser; Andrew A Rosenberg; Marta Sales; Kimberly A Selkoe; Rick Starr; Fiona Tomas; Mikel Zabala
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2012-02-29
Journal Detail:
Title:  PloS one     Volume:  7     ISSN:  1932-6203     ISO Abbreviation:  PLoS ONE     Publication Date:  2012  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-03-06     Completed Date:  2012-07-23     Revised Date:  2013-06-26    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101285081     Medline TA:  PLoS One     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  e32742     Citation Subset:  IM    
National Geographic Society, Washington, DC, United States of America.
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MeSH Terms
Conservation of Natural Resources
Coral Reefs
Fishes / physiology*
Invertebrates / physiology
Mediterranean Sea
Population Dynamics

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