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A preliminary assessment of marine biodiversity to support the establishment of a marine protected area along the coast of Manduria (southeastern Italy, Ionian Sea)

Research Paper | August 1, 2017

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Elvira Tarsitano, Michele de Gioia, Antonella Colucci, Anna Lisco, Marcello Colao, Antonella Bottalico

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J. Bio. Env. Sci.11( 2), 148-163, August 2017


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The coast of Manduria, in the province of Taranto (southeastern Italy, Ionian Sea), characterized by important natural areas, has been recently proposed as a potential Marine Protected Area (MPA). With this aim, the Municipality of Manduria requested to A.B.A.P (Associazione Biologi Ambientalisti Pugliesi) a preliminary assessment of marine biodiversity along this coastline. Two benthic habitats of high conservation importance, Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows and coralligenous formations, were selected because they have been designated as Mediterranean priority habitats by the EU Habitats Directive and/or the Barcelona Convention. Macroalgal flora and fish fauna, occurring in this poorly explored area, were also investigated to fill up the knowledge gap. Whenever possible, non-destructive sampling methods were used. The two surveyed P. oceanica meadows showed a fair state of conservation, since anthropic disturbance and degradation were only recorded near their upper limits. A total of 70 vegetal and animal taxa (33 macroalgae, 15 fish and 22 invertebrates) was reported and the presence of some high naturalistic value species was documented, revealing that the site would benefit from protection. The present baseline data represent an initial reference that may be useful to support the establishment and the sustainable management of the future MPA.


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