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Comparative Analysis of Mollusc Assemblages from Different Hard Bottom Habitats in the Central Tyrrhenian Sea

Department of Environmental Biology, “Sapienza” University of Rome, 00185 Rome, Italy
Department of Biology, “Tor Vergata” University of Rome, 00133 Rome, Italy
CoNISMa (National Interuniversity Consortium for Marine Sciences), 00196 Rome, Italy
Department of Science and Technology, “Parthenope” University of Naples, 80143 Naples, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2019, 11(5), 74;
Received: 15 March 2019 / Revised: 19 April 2019 / Accepted: 4 May 2019 / Published: 6 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Marine Diversity)
Composition, trophic structure, and species-substrate relationships of molluscan assemblages inhabiting different hard bottom habitats (Sabellaria alveolata reef, photophilic bottoms, Phyllophora crispa sciaphilic assemblage, and coralligenous bioconstruction) were studied in two different sites of the Tyrrhenian Sea. In particular, molluscs from the Sabellaria alvevolata (Linnaeus, 1767) reef and coralligenous concretion were investigated, testing the hypothesis that bioconstructions increase the diversity and abundance of associated biota compared to the surrounding habitats. A total of 3134 individuals belonging to the classes of Polyplacophora (5 species, 24 individuals), Bivalvia (39 sp., 2734 ind.), and Gastropoda (53 sp., 376 ind.) were identified. These three taxonomic groups showed different distribution patterns in the studied habitats. Multivariate analyses revealed significant inter-habitat differences in the composition of mollusc assemblages, especially between bioconstructions and the other habitats. S. alveolata and coralligenous host the highest rich molluscan fauna when compared to the neighboring hard bottom habitats characterized by photophilic and sciaphilic assemblages. The first ones were dominated by bivalve suspension feeders, mainly represented by sessile and sedentary organisms, which act as bio-constructors, bio-eroders, or simply inhabit the several microhabitats provided by the bioconstructions, while the second ones host a rich molluscan fauna dominated by gastropod grazers and predators. The present study increases the comparative knowledge of molluscan assemblages inhabiting habitats of littoral plans of the Mediterranean Sea, providing pivotal information regarding biodiversity of coastal zones. View Full-Text
Keywords: mollusc diversity; trophic categories; habitats; bioconstructions; Mediterranean Sea mollusc diversity; trophic categories; habitats; bioconstructions; Mediterranean Sea
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Casoli, E.; Bonifazi, A.; Ardizzone, G.; Gravina, M.F.; Russo, G.F.; Sandulli, R.; Donnarumma, L. Comparative Analysis of Mollusc Assemblages from Different Hard Bottom Habitats in the Central Tyrrhenian Sea. Diversity 2019, 11, 74.

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