Biodiversity and Ecology in the Mediterranean Sea

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Marine Diversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2024 | Viewed by 3530

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
National Research Council (CNR), IRBIM-Institute for Marine Biological Resources and Biotechnologies, Largo Fiera della Pesca, 1, 60125 Ancona, Italy
Interests: fisheries acoustics; small pelagic fish; krill; marine ecology

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
National Research Council (CNR), IRBIM-Institute for Marine Biological Resources and Biotechnologies, Largo Fiera della Pesca, 1, 60125 Ancona, Italy
Interests: fisheries acoustics; small pelagic fish; krill; marine ecology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce a forthcoming Special Issue titled “Biodiversity and Ecology in the Mediterranean Sea”.

Marine biodiversity in the Mediterranean Sea, as in many other oceans and seas of the world, has been undergoing extensive modifications in recent years due to the rapidly progressing climate changes we are witnessing. Some Mediterranean typical species are likely to be downsized, and new species adapted to the tropical climate will gain more and more space in Mediterranean waters if the current thermal trend persists.

The Mediterranean is home to more than 17,000 marine species, which corresponds to 4 to 18% of the world’s known marine species; 20–30% of Mediterranean marine species are endemic, being the highest rate of endemism at global level (SoED 2020). This very high biodiversity could be explained by the different climatic and hydrologic conditions that can be found all over the Mediterranean Sea, but also with the old tradition of biological studies carried out in this area. Anyway, more than 1000 non-indigenous marine species have been recorded and 618 species are considered established. Coralligenous ecosystems covering approximately 2760 square kilometers are threatened by fishing gear, boat anchoring, invasive species, pollution and climate change. Moreover, around 70% of habitat loss of Posidonia oceanica is projected by 2050, with the potential for functional extinction by 2100 (IPCC, 2019). From 1950 to 2011, the Mediterranean lost 41% of top predators, including marine mammals. Projections suggest that more than 30 endemic species will become extinct by the end of the century; 75% of Mediterranean and Black Sea stocks (for which validated assessments are available) are fished at biologically unsustainable levels (SoMFi 2020). To try to contrast the abovementioned problems, marine protected areas (MPAs) have been established over the years. Unfortunately, only 9% of Mediterranean marine area is currently protected, and only 10% of MPAs implement management plans. A well-represented biodiversity in a marine area means better functionality of local ecosystems with many benefits for the local populations, including humans. Therefore, it is important to focus on biodiversity-related studies.

Marine ecology could be the key subject to try to interpret how living organisms will interact with physical factors in this rapidly changing environment to have an idea of short–medium term modifications in the biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea.

This Special Issue is a good opportunity to combine and synthesize recent research focused on biodiversity and ecological studies concerning aquatic organisms of the Mediterranean Sea. We, together with Diversity’s team, kindly invite you to submit a manuscript focused on any of the above topics. Although specific case studies with broad implications are welcome, we encourage authors to submit large-scale and/or multi-specific studies, synthesis works and reviews that could widen our knowledge on the aspects listed above. If you are interested in this opportunity or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Dr. Andrea De Felice
Dr. Iole Leonori
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diversity is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • biodiversity
  • ecology
  • mediterranean sea
  • plankton
  • fish
  • environmental factors

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

17 pages, 5929 KiB  
Article
Biodiversity of Gelatinous Organisms in the Western Adriatic Sea and Identification of Their Echo Traces in Acoustic Data
by Andrea De Felice, Ilaria Biagiotti, Giovanni Canduci, Ilaria Costantini, Antonio Palermino, Michele Centurelli, Samuele Menicucci and Iole Leonori
Diversity 2024, 16(4), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16040202 - 27 Mar 2024
Viewed by 434
Abstract
The abundance of gelatinous organisms, such as salps and jellyfish, in the Adriatic Sea has significantly increased over the past decade. Environmental factors play a key role in driving this shift in abundance through rising temperatures and a consequent decrease in oxygen levels [...] Read more.
The abundance of gelatinous organisms, such as salps and jellyfish, in the Adriatic Sea has significantly increased over the past decade. Environmental factors play a key role in driving this shift in abundance through rising temperatures and a consequent decrease in oxygen levels in the water, for which jellyfish have higher tolerance levels. Additionally, fisheries may contribute to the proliferation of jellyfish by diminishing their natural predators and food competitors. Pelagic trawl catch data from 2015 to 2023 acquired during MEDIAS acoustic surveys in the western Adriatic Sea were reviewed to extract information concerning the abundance and distribution of salps and jellyfish. These data were subsequently analyzed and compared with satellite environmental information to identify potential correlations. When considering environmental information related to the month of the survey, the results show two significant relationships: one between the abundance of Aequorea aequorea and average salinity and another one between the abundance of Rhizostoma pulmo and bottom temperature. Furthermore, when considering environmental data from the month preceding the survey, a relationship between the overall abundance of gelatinous organisms, salps and jellyfish together, and surface temperature was identified. Additionally, an analysis was conducted on specific hauls that almost exclusively yielded jellyfish, with the aim of identifying their echo traces. Although it was not possible to allocate one jellyfish species to a specific echo trace due to the frequent co-occurrence of more than one species, a general indication of typical backscatter for these species, with a higher response at 70 kHz, was consistently observed in all cases examined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Ecology in the Mediterranean Sea)
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20 pages, 15940 KiB  
Article
Population Dynamics of Three Polyplacophora Species from the Aegean Sea (Eastern Mediterranean)
by Anastasios Varkoulis, Konstantinos Voulgaris, Daniil Solonas Zachos and Dimitris Vafidis
Diversity 2023, 15(7), 867; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15070867 - 18 Jul 2023
Viewed by 949
Abstract
The present study is the first to examine spatio-temporal variations in the densities and morphometrics of three shallow water Polyplacophora species (Rhyssoplax olivacea, Acanthochitona fascicularis and Lepidopleurus cajetanus), native to the eastern Mediterranean, while also estimating several growth parameters. Two intertidal [...] Read more.
The present study is the first to examine spatio-temporal variations in the densities and morphometrics of three shallow water Polyplacophora species (Rhyssoplax olivacea, Acanthochitona fascicularis and Lepidopleurus cajetanus), native to the eastern Mediterranean, while also estimating several growth parameters. Two intertidal boulder fields located in the Pagasitigos gulf (central Aegean) were sampled monthly with SCUBA diving using quadrant sampling, to compare the spatial and temporal (month, season) effects on their size, population density and dispersion pattern. Region was the most significant factor influencing the abundance and size for all three species, while the temporal scales affected mostly Rhyssoplax olivacea. The effect of a boulder under the surface was only significant for the density of Lepidopleurus cajetanus. The standardized major axis method showed that the three species exhibited different allometric relationships between length, width and weight, while a slope comparison between regions yielded significant, in most cases, results. Using the standardized Morisita index for dispersion, a clustered pattern was observed for all species seasonally, with the exception of Acanthochitona fascicularis in Plakes in autumn and winter. To estimate the growth parameters, a bootstrapped Electronic Frequency Analysis (ELEFAN) utilizing a genetic algorithm was employed on pooled populations. L and K varied among the three species with A. fascicularis exhibiting the highest L and L. cajetanus the lowest K value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Ecology in the Mediterranean Sea)
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15 pages, 12060 KiB  
Article
Looking at the Expansion of Three Demersal Lessepsian Fish Immigrants in the Greek Seas: What Can We Get from Spatial Distribution Modeling?
by Maria Solanou, Vasilis D. Valavanis, Paraskevi K. Karachle and Marianna Giannoulaki
Diversity 2023, 15(6), 776; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15060776 - 15 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1300
Abstract
A big number of Red Sea species have entered the Mediterranean Sea since the opening of the Suez Canal. Some of them quickly establish local populations and increase their abundance, forming a potential threat for local biodiversity and fisheries. Here, we use habitat [...] Read more.
A big number of Red Sea species have entered the Mediterranean Sea since the opening of the Suez Canal. Some of them quickly establish local populations and increase their abundance, forming a potential threat for local biodiversity and fisheries. Here, we use habitat modeling tools to study the expansion of three alien, demersal fish species that entered the Mediterranean basin at different times: Pterois miles, Siganus luridus and Siganus rivulatus. Georeferenced occurrence data from the eastern Mediterranean over the past ten years were compiled using online sources, published scientific literature and questionnaires and were correlated with environmental and topographic variables. The maximum entropy modeling approach was applied to construct habitat suitability maps for the target species over all of the Greek Seas. Results emphasized the three species’ strong coastal nature and their association with the presence of Posidonia oceanica meadows. Probability maps evidenced that for all species there is a higher likelihood of presence along the southeast and central Aegean and Ionian Sea coasts and a lower likelihood throughout the North Aegean Sea. For Siganus spp., predictions in the Thracian Sea were highlighted as highly uncertain, as the environmental conditions in this area partly fall outside the range of values occurring in locations of their current presence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Ecology in the Mediterranean Sea)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Biodiversity of gelatinous organisms in the western Adriatic Sea and identification of their echo traces in acoustic data
Authors: Andrea De Felice; Ilaria Biagiotti; Giovanni Canduci; Ilaria Costantini; Antonio Palermino; Michele Centurelli; Samuele Menicucci; Iole Leonori
Affiliation: National Research Council (CNR), IRBIM-Institute for Marine Biological Resources and Biotechnology, Largo Fiera della Pesca, 60125 Ancona, Italy
Abstract: The abundance of gelatinous organisms, such as salps and jellyfish, in the Adriatic Sea have significantly increased over the past decade. Environmental factors play a key role in driving this shift in abundance through rising temperatures and a consequent decrease in oxygen levels in the water, for which jellyfish have higher tolerance levels. Additionally, fisheries may contribute to the proliferation of jellyfish by diminishing their natural predators and food competitors. Pelagic trawl catch data from 2015 to 2023 acquired during MEDIAS acoustic surveys in the western Adriatic Sea were reviewed to extract information concerning the abundance and distribution of salps and jellyfish. These data were subsequently analyzed and compared with satellite environmental information to identify potential correlations. When considering environmental information from the survey month, the results show significant relationships between the abundance of A. aequorea and average salinity and the abundance of R. pulmo and bottom temperature. Furthermore, when considering environmental data from the month preceding the survey, a relationship between the overall abundance of gelatinous organisms and surface temperature was identified. Additionally, an analysis was conducted on specific hauls that almost exclusively yielded jellyfish, with the aim of identifying their echo traces. Although it was not possible to allocate one jellyfish species to a specific echo trace due to the frequent co-occurrence of more than one species, a general indication of typical backscatter for these species, with a higher response at 70 kHz, was consistently observed in all cases examined.

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