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Title: Wanted dead or alive : high diversity of macroinvertebrates associated with living and ’dead’ Posidonia oceanica matte
Authors: Borg, Joseph A.
Rowden, Ashley A.
Schembri, Patrick J.
Jones, Malcolm Brandon
Attrill, Martin James
Keywords: Marine invertebrates -- Malta
Posidonia oceanica -- Malta
Issue Date: 2006-01-25
Publisher: Springer
Citation: Borg, J. A., Rowden, A. A., Attrill, M. J., Schembri, P. J., & Jones, M. B. (2006). Wanted dead or alive: high diversity of macroinvertebrates associated with living and ‘dead’Posidonia oceanica matte. Marine Biology, 149(3), 667-677.
Abstract: The Mediterranean endemic seagrass Posidonia oceanica forms beds characterised by a dense leaf canopy and a thick root-rhizome ‘matte’. Death of P. oceanica shoots leads to exposure of the underlying matte, which can persist for many years, and is termed ‘dead’ matte. Traditionally, dead matte has been regarded as a degraded habitat. To test whether this assumption was true, the motile macroinvertebrates of adjacent living (with shoots) and dead (without shoots) matte of P. oceanica were sampled in four different plots located at the same depth (5–6 m) in Mellieha Bay, Malta (central Mediterranean). The total number of species and abundance were significantly higher (ANOVA; P<0.05 and P<0.01, respectively) in the dead matte than in living P. oceanica matte, despite the presence of the foliar canopy in the latter. Multivariate analysis (MDS) clearly showed two main groups of assemblages, corresponding to the two matte types. The amphipods Leptocheirus guttatus and Maera grossimana, and the polychaete Nereis rava contributed most to the dissimilarity between the two different matte types. Several unique properties of the dead matte contributing to the unexpected higher number of species and abundance of motile macroinvertebrates associated with this habitat are discussed. The findings have important implications for the conservation of bare P. oceanica matte, which has been generally viewed as a habitat of low ecological value.
Appears in Collections:Melitensia Works - ERCSciBot
Scholarly Works - FacSciBio

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