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Diversity 2018, 10(3), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10030096

Assessment of Structural and Functional Diversity of Mollusc Assemblages within Vermetid Bioconstructions

1
Laboratory of Marine Ecology, Department of Science and Technology, University of Naples “Parthenope”, Centro Direzionale—Isola C4, 80143 Naples, Italy
2
CoNISMa (National Interuniversity Consortium for Marine Sciences), 00196 Rome, Italy
3
Department of Marine Science and Applied Biology, University of Alicante, San Vicente del Raspeig, Ap. 99, E-03080 Alicante, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 July 2018 / Revised: 24 August 2018 / Accepted: 25 August 2018 / Published: 28 August 2018
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Abstract

Dendropoma lebeche is a prosobranch gastropod belonging to the family Vermetidae, which calcifies its shell on hard substrates in dense aggregates, forming biogenic constructions along the western Mediterranean intertidal habitat. It is an important ecosystem engineer and, due to its ecological value, is protected by international convention. The aim of this study is to investigate the mollusc composition and diversity occurring within Spanish vermetid bioconstructions. During the late summer 2013, three distant sites along the Mediterranean coast of Spain were sampled by scraping off the vermetid shells to study their associated assemblages. A total of 600 molluscs were identified within the classes of Polyplacophora (four species), Gastropoda (35 spp.) and Bivalvia (18 spp.). Multivariate analyses revealed significant differences in composition and trophic diversity of mollusc assemblages among the three sites, highlighting a clear geographical gradient. Overall, both herbivores (grazers and deposit feeders) and omnivores were the quantitatively dominant trophic groups, while carnivores (predators and ectoparasites) were very scarce. Our results point out that mollusc assemblages associated with vermetid bioconstructions are rich and diversified, both in populations structure and trophic diversity, confirming the important role of vermetid gastropods as ecosystem engineers and biodiversity enhancers in shallow coastal waters. View Full-Text
Keywords: mollusc diversity; Vermetidae; trophic categories; intertidal; Mediterranean Sea mollusc diversity; Vermetidae; trophic categories; intertidal; Mediterranean Sea
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Donnarumma, L.; Sandulli, R.; Appolloni, L.; Sánchez-Lizaso, J.L.; Russo, G.F. Assessment of Structural and Functional Diversity of Mollusc Assemblages within Vermetid Bioconstructions. Diversity 2018, 10, 96.

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