Initial fish-farm impact on meiofaunal assemblages in coastal sediments of the Western Mediterranean

Antonio Mazzola, Danovaro, Mirto, Mazzola

Risultato della ricerca: Articlepeer review

107 Citazioni (Scopus)


We studied the initial impact of organic loads due to the biodeposition of a new fish farm in a non-impacted coastal area of the Tyrrhenian Sea (Western Mediterranean). Sediment chemistry and meiofaunal assemblages were investigated from July 1997 to February 1998 on a monthly basis at two stations: the first was located under the fish farm, while the second was at about 1 km distance, and served as control. Variations in the biochemical composition of the sedimentary organic matter and meiofaunal community structure were also related to changes in reared fish biomass. The presence of the cage-induced rapid changes in the benthic compartment: the sediments reached rapidly (i.e., after only 6 weeks) reducing conditions. A significant accumulation of biopolymeric carbon was observed beneath the cage both at the beginning of this study and 5-7 months after cage disposal and appeared to be related to the fish-farm production cycle. Sedimentary proteins and lipids resulted to be good descriptors of medium-term fish-farm impact. Changes in the sediment conditions beneath the cage determined a significant reduction of the total meiofaunal density (on average for 70%). Most meiofaunal taxa, including nematodes, copepods and ostracods displayed a significant decrease in the farm sediments within 3 months after cage installation. Kinorhynchs appeared extremely sensitive to reducing conditions of the sediments and disappeared almost completely, whereas polychaete densities remained unvaried. After initial impact meiofaunal assemblages responded to organic enrichment recovering, at least partially, their apparent structural characteristics. These data indicate that studies carried out several months after cage deployment might underestimate the actual impact on benthic assemblages. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1126-1133
Numero di pagine8
RivistaMarine Pollution Bulletin
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution

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