Special Issue "Plankton Biodiversity in the Mediterranean Sea"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Biodiversity and Functionality of Aquatic Ecosystems".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2022) | Viewed by 2417

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Mirna Batistic
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Marine and Costal Research, University of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Interests: zooplankton; gelatinous zooplankton; taxonomy; ecology; climate change
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Mediterranean Sea is a semienclosed marine biodiversity hotspot, and of the mature biomes, it is probably one of the most sensitive to global warming; it is also particularly susceptible to biological invasions. In addition to the potential for species influx through the Straits of Gibraltar, the construction of the Suez Canal has led to the introduction of a number of tropical and subtropical species from the Red Sea. In general, plankton distribution is strongly influenced by hydrological features and water mass advection. Hydrographic dynamics also influence the probability of establishment and population dynamics of newcomers. Therefore, plankton assemblages in the Mediterranean have proved to be good indicators of environmental changes, such as changes in thermohaline circulation, which are sensitive to ongoing climate change and global warming. The Mediterranean Sea contains a wide range of plankton whose environmental preferences and functional roles remain to be fully determined. A reliable plankton surveys at species level is a critical tool for tracking changes in biodiversity hotspots, such as the Mediterranean basin.

In this volume, topics related to ecology and plankton diversity will be presented, including integrative taxonomy (genetical and morphological approach), which can ensure the consistent discrimination of species—even closely related, cryptic, and rare species—as well as the discovery of new species. Furthermore, plankton species composition and distribution as a proxy of ocean conditions and physical processes, spatio-temporal distribution and biogeography as well as interactions with human activities, such as environmental/climatic changes, will also be incuded.

Dr. Mirna Batistic
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • phytoplankton
  • zooplankton
  • biodiversity
  • integrative taxonomy
  • nonindigenous species
  • environmental changes
  • climate changes
  • Mediterranean Sea

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Article
Copepod Diel Vertical Distribution in the Open Southern Adriatic Sea (NE Mediterranean) under Two Different Environmental Conditions
Water 2022, 14(12), 1901; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14121901 - 13 Jun 2022
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Abstract
Diel vertical migration of the copepod the community was investigated in the open South Adriatic, in June 2020 and February 2021, under two very different hydrographical conditions. The influence of a winter wind-induced mixing event on copepod vertical migration at the species level [...] Read more.
Diel vertical migration of the copepod the community was investigated in the open South Adriatic, in June 2020 and February 2021, under two very different hydrographical conditions. The influence of a winter wind-induced mixing event on copepod vertical migration at the species level was determined for the first time and compared to the situation in June when pronounced thermal stratification was observed. The samples were collected during a 24 h cycle in four depth layers from the surface down to 300 m depth, using a Nansen opening–closing net with 250-µm mesh size. In winter, the bulk of the copepod population remained in the epipelagic zone (0–100 m) over the entire 24 h cycle, with calanoids remaining the dominant group. An increasing trend of copepod standing stocks from midnight to early morning in the surface layer found in June is in agreement with previous records of copepod day–night variations in the Mediterranean Sea. Day–night differences in diversity and the number of taxa of the epipelagic area were more pronounced in June, confirming the higher intensity of diel vertical migration in summer. Although the epipelagic community was composed of numerous weak diel vertical migrant species, for the majority of investigated copepod taxa, migration patterns differed between the environmentally contrasting seasons. A multivariate non-metric analysis showed that the copepod community was strongly affected by temperature, thus exhibiting a clear seasonal structure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plankton Biodiversity in the Mediterranean Sea)
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Article
Description of Aurelia pseudosolida sp. nov. (Scyphozoa, Ulmaridae) from the Adriatic Sea
Water 2022, 14(2), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14020135 - 06 Jan 2022
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Abstract
Until 2021, the genus Aurelia contained eleven described species (WoRMS, 2020), with many genetic species still awaiting a formal description. In 2021, ten new species of Aurelia were described almost solely from genetic data in a novel attempt to use genetic characters as [...] Read more.
Until 2021, the genus Aurelia contained eleven described species (WoRMS, 2020), with many genetic species still awaiting a formal description. In 2021, ten new species of Aurelia were described almost solely from genetic data in a novel attempt to use genetic characters as diagnostic characters for species descriptions, leaving seven genetic species still undescribed. Here we present the description of a new Aurelia species from the Adriatic Sea using an integrative taxonomy approach, i.e., employing molecular as well as morphological characteristics in order to describe this new Aurelia species. The species is described based on a single medusa sampled from the town of Rovinj (Croatia), North Adriatic, amidst combined blooms of the ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidy and cnidarian Aurelia solida in the summer of 2020. Based on genetic data, the newly described Aurelia pseudosolida sp. nov. has never been sequenced in any of the previous investigations of the molecular diversity of Aurelia. This is the second species belonging to Discomedusae described from the North Adriatic in little more than half a decade, which could be yet another indication of the susceptibility of the North Adriatic to proliferation of non-indigenous gelatinous species, especially if we take into account historical as well as recent blooms of suspected non-indigenous gelatinous species such as Muggiaea atlantica, Aurelia solida, Mawia benovici and Mnemiopsis leidy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plankton Biodiversity in the Mediterranean Sea)
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Review

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Review
Mediterranean and Black Sea Monstrilloid Copepods (Copepoda: Monstrilloida): Rediscovering the Diversity of Transient Zooplankters
Water 2021, 13(8), 1036; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13081036 - 09 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 710
Abstract
Monstrilloids are copepods that live freely in plankton without feeding but have parasitic immature stages that develop within infected benthic molluscs and polychaetes. Because of their incompletely known life cycles and the difficulty of matching conspecific males and females, it has been difficult [...] Read more.
Monstrilloids are copepods that live freely in plankton without feeding but have parasitic immature stages that develop within infected benthic molluscs and polychaetes. Because of their incompletely known life cycles and the difficulty of matching conspecific males and females, it has been difficult to assess their true diversity anywhere on earth. The monstrilloid fauna of the Mediterranean and Black seas (MBS) has been investigated for over 140 years, during which time four phases of study can be recognized. The initial list of MBS monstrilloids recorded during the first phase (1877–1893) grew only slowly for decades afterwards during the second phase (1895–1952) because of patchy sampling and a dearth of formal taxonomic descriptions. The third phase (1957–1986) featured little new work at all. During the most recent fourth phase since 1992, a reappraisal with heed to nomenclatural rules and upgraded descriptive standards has led to the realization that many nominal species of MBS monstrilloids are invalid or doubtful. Furthermore, some that have been frequently recorded, such as Monstrilla grandis, Cymbasoma longispinosum, and C. rigidum, may actually be undescribed representatives of widespread species groups. We provide an updated annotated checklist of MBS monstrilloids that includes 21 supposedly valid nominal species or species-groups. This rather high regional diversity will likely grow if future zooplankton surveys in the highly heterogeneous and extensive coastal systems of the MBS pay due attention to this intriguing group of copepods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plankton Biodiversity in the Mediterranean Sea)
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