Changes in the benthic algal flora and vegetation of a semi-enclosed Mediterranean coastal lagoon (Stagnone di Marsala, Western Sicily)

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Abstract

A study of the benthic macroalgal flora and vegetation of the Stagnone di Marsala (Trapani) has been performed in order to provide an up-to-date review of the status of and verify main changes that have occurred in the area over the past three decades. The flora of this study was poorer in taxa than that of literature (94 taxa against 108), with an increase in Chlorophyta and a decrease in Rhodophyta and Phaeophyceae. Only 48 taxa in the present flora have been previously reported, while 46 are new for the Stagnone. Among these, it was noteworthy, from both floristic and ecological point of view, the record for the first time of Cystoseira compressa (Esper) Gerloff & Nizamuddin and the invasive algae Caulerpa cylindracea Sonder and Lophocladia lallemandii (Montagne) F. Schmitz. On the contrary, 60 taxa previously reported have not been detected during the present study. Among these, Lamprothamnium papulosum (Wallroth) Groves and Cystoseira barbata (Stackhouse) C. Agardh f. aurantia (Kützing) Giaccone have been the most significant disappearances. High degree of confinement and sediment composition were the major factors affecting number of taxa and abundance of the phytobenthic communities, with maximum values in the stations characterized by a good water exchange and/or presence of Cystoseira assemblages. As a result of the effects of global warming over the past few years, noticeable changes in composition and structure of phytobenthic communities in the lagoon have been observed and some hypotheses of expected changes are here proposed.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)245-264
Numero di pagine20
RivistaNATURALISTA SICILIANO
Volume38
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2014

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