Special Issue "Marine Benthic Biodiversity of Eastern Mediterranean Ecosystems"

A special issue of Journal of Marine Science and Engineering (ISSN 2077-1312). This special issue belongs to the section "Marine Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2022 | Viewed by 3790

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Panayota Koulouri
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnoogy & Aquaculture, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, 71500 Heraklion, Greece
Interests: marine biodiversity; benthic ecology; integrated coastal zone management; ocean literacy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Vasilis Gerovasileiou
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology & Aquaculture, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Athens, Greece
Interests: marine biodiversity; benthic ecology; benthic invertebrates; marine caves; dark habitats; sponges; non-indigenous species; bioconstructions; marine conservation
Dr. Thanos Dailianis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology & Aquaculture, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Athens, Greece
Interests: marine biology; benthic invertebrates; Porifera; marine genomics; marine biotechnology; marine biodiversity; scientific diving

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue aims to present a collection of studies on biodiversity in marine benthic ecosystems of the eastern basin of the Mediterranean Sea, which is an important global biodiversity hotspot. Despite significant scientific progress in the past few decades, the eastern Mediterranean can still be considered to be underexplored and prone to the discovery of new species and assemblages. Spatio-temporal analyses of datasets on different marine benthic components and their environment are welcome and expected to expand our present knowledge. Descriptions of innovative sampling techniques targeting specific marine benthic organisms or different marine benthic habitats are strongly encouraged as there is a scarcity of standardized assessment protocols. Effects of anthropogenic pressures such as fisheries, pollution, and climate change (e.g., lessepsian migration) that may lead to a loss of biodiversity, degradation of habitats, and changes in ecosystem functioning can be examined and interpreted too.

Dr. Yolanda Koulouri
Dr. Vasilis Gerovasileiou
Dr. Thanos Dailianis
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. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering 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 2000 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

  • marine benthic biodiversity
  • marine benthic ecosystems
  • marine benthic habitats
  • marine ecosystem dynamics
  • sampling methodologies
  • anthropogenic pressures
  • eastern Mediterranean sea

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Article
A Study of Arca noae (Linnaeus, 1758) in Elounda Bay, Crete, Eastern Mediterranean
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2022, 10(5), 673; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10050673 - 15 May 2022
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Abstract
There is growing interest about marine bivalve aquaculture globally, not only for the market value of the goods produced, but also for the socio-economic and environmental services that this activity can provide. Arca noae is an endemic Mediterranean bivalve of commercial value, whose [...] Read more.
There is growing interest about marine bivalve aquaculture globally, not only for the market value of the goods produced, but also for the socio-economic and environmental services that this activity can provide. Arca noae is an endemic Mediterranean bivalve of commercial value, whose previously undescribed population in Elounda Bay we studied in terms of its structure and reproduction, while constructing a timeseries of the basic environmental parameters of the bay, thus, gaining fundamental knowledge for the potential future exploitation of the species in the area. We found a variable spatial distribution of arks in the study area, with local high peaks in the population density, consisting of smaller size individuals, in comparison to other areas. Because of protandry of the species, human pressure on this population could have a strong negative effect, by targeting the limited numbers of large females in the study area. The reproduction pattern was similar to the reports from other Mediterranean locations. The abiotic conditions in Elounda Bay differed from those in the adjacent coastal zone, confirming that the Bay is a unique semi-enclosed marine area in the island of Crete. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Benthic Biodiversity of Eastern Mediterranean Ecosystems)
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Article
Comparative Study of Marine Cave Communities in a Protected Area of the South-Eastern Aegean Sea, Greece
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2022, 10(5), 660; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10050660 - 13 May 2022
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Abstract
Although more than 600 marine caves have been recorded so far along the Greek coasts of the Aegean Sea (Eastern Mediterranean), only a few have been systematically studied for their biodiversity. In this study, the benthic communities of six marine caves within a [...] Read more.
Although more than 600 marine caves have been recorded so far along the Greek coasts of the Aegean Sea (Eastern Mediterranean), only a few have been systematically studied for their biodiversity. In this study, the benthic communities of six marine caves within a Protected Area of South-Eastern Aegean were studied for the first time, both qualitatively and quantitatively. The association of different geomorphological and topographical factors of the caves with the benthic community structure was investigated. A total of 120 photographic quadrats covering the entrance and semi-dark cave zones were analysed, with regard to coverage and taxon abundance, while motile taxa were qualitatively recorded by visual census. The ecological quality status of the caves was also assessed under an ecosystem-based approach. In total, 81 sessile and 45 motile taxa were recorded, including 12 protected and 10 non-indigenous species. Multivariate community analysis demonstrated that the geomorphological and topographical variables of the caves are significantly associated with the observed biotic patterns. The ecological quality of the caves was assessed as poor or moderate according to the CavEBQI index, highlighting the necessity for systematic monitoring. This study paves the way for similar studies in marine cave habitats aiming at the development of management and conservation actions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Benthic Biodiversity of Eastern Mediterranean Ecosystems)
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Article
Early Succession Patterns of Benthic Assemblages on Artificial Reefs in the Oligotrophic Eastern Mediterranean Basin
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2022, 10(5), 620; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10050620 - 02 May 2022
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Abstract
The colonization of artificial structures by benthic organisms in the marine realm is known to be affected by the general trophic patterns of the biogeographical zone and the prevailing environmental traits at the local scale. The present work aims to present quantitative data [...] Read more.
The colonization of artificial structures by benthic organisms in the marine realm is known to be affected by the general trophic patterns of the biogeographical zone and the prevailing environmental traits at the local scale. The present work aims to present quantitative data on the early settlement progress of macrofaunal benthic assemblages developing on artificial reefs (ARs) deployed at the Underwater Biotechnological Park of Crete (UBPC) in the oligotrophic Eastern Mediterranean. Visual census and subsequent image analysis combined with scraped quadrats were used to describe the establishment of the communities and their development over three consecutive campaigns, spanning 5 years post-deployment. Macroalgae consistently dominated in terms of coverage, while sessile invertebrates displayed different patterns over the years. Polychaeta and Bryozoa were gradually replaced by Cnidaria, while Porifera and Mollusca displayed an increasing trend over the years. Motile benthos was mainly represented by Mollusca, while the abundance of Polychaeta increased in contrast to that of Crustacea. For both sessile and motile assemblages, significant differences were observed among the years. The results of this study indicate that ecological succession is still ongoing, and further improvement in the monitoring methodology can assist towards a more accurate assessment of the community composition in complex AR structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Benthic Biodiversity of Eastern Mediterranean Ecosystems)
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Article
Trophic Diversity of a Fish Community Associated with a Caulerpa prolifera (Forsskål) Meadow in a Shallow Semi-Enclosed Embayment
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(2), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9020165 - 06 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 684
Abstract
This study investigates the trophic diversity of fishes living in a meadow of Caulerpa prolifera on a bimonthly basis between May 2006 and April 2007 in a semi-enclosed coastal marine ecosystem of the Mediterranean Sea (Elounda Bay, Crete Island). The study area is [...] Read more.
This study investigates the trophic diversity of fishes living in a meadow of Caulerpa prolifera on a bimonthly basis between May 2006 and April 2007 in a semi-enclosed coastal marine ecosystem of the Mediterranean Sea (Elounda Bay, Crete Island). The study area is shallow and protected from waves, and it is covered by a C. prolifera bed, characterized by high organic input and a highly diverse macrobenthic community. Feeding patterns of the fish, investigated on the basis of stomach content analyses, were described in terms of numerical abundance and frequency of occurrence of prey taxa. A total of 1642 fish individuals, belonging to 17 species, were examined. In total, 45,674 prey individuals were identified belonging to 110 prey taxa, most of which were Malacostraca including their larvae and Copepoda (41,175 individuals identified to 71 taxa). Four different trophic groups were identified: herbivorous, pelagic, benthic (hyperbenthic) and piscivorous. Trophic diversity patterns of the fish species studied were also compared to the relative availability of macrobenthic and zooplanktonic taxa during the same period in the study area. The coexistence of many different, mostly benthic but also pelagic, fishes and their juveniles implies their high trophic flexibility, which is probably important for their survival in this particular habitat. Results of the present study provide basic knowledge on trophic diversity and interactions in the marine ecosystem and, therefore, some evidence as to the protection value of this particular habitat, which is essential for the implementation of a multispecies approach to decision-makers and managers of fisheries sources of the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Benthic Biodiversity of Eastern Mediterranean Ecosystems)
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Review

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Review
Alien Species Threat across Marine Protected Areas of Turkey—An Updated Inventory
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(10), 1077; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9101077 - 01 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 590
Abstract
This study presents the first comprehensive assessment of alien species occurrences within the selected 11 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) located on the Aegean and Levantine coasts of Turkey. The inventory includes a total of 289 species belonging to 15 phyla, in which lowest [...] Read more.
This study presents the first comprehensive assessment of alien species occurrences within the selected 11 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) located on the Aegean and Levantine coasts of Turkey. The inventory includes a total of 289 species belonging to 15 phyla, in which lowest and highest diversities were observed in Saros Bay MPA (27 species, northern Aegean Sea) and Fethiye-Göcek Bay MPA (150 species, northwest Levantine Sea), respectively. Alien species distributions that were revealed in protected areas located in the southern Aegean and Levantine Seas were 56.9% similar (based on presence vs. absence data), while northern Aegean sites formed another distinct group. According to the breakdown of major phyla through the entire study areas, Mollusca had the highest alien diversity (22.1% of alien species), followed by Actinopterygii (19.0%), Arthropoda (15.2%) and Annelida (13.5%). Casual aliens were represented by very low proportions in each MPA, proving that most species were already established in the region, with a significant proportion of invasive species. Regardless of the localities, the majority of the species originated from the Red Sea, whose primary pathway of introduction is the corridor, the Suez Canal. In the absence of effective management actions against bioinvasions, MPAs located along the Turkish coastline do not currently seem to provide any protection, revealing a large conservation gap to be filled. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Benthic Biodiversity of Eastern Mediterranean Ecosystems)
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