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Biodiversity and spatio-temporal changes of benthic and demersal assemblages of circalittoral soft bottoms of the Bay of Málaga (northern Alboran Sea)

  • Elena Moya-Urbano (a1), Javier Urra (a2), Pablo Marina (a2), Marina Gallardo-núñez (a2), J. Enrique García Raso (a1), Patricia Bárcenas (a2), José M. Serna Quintero (a2), Ana Giráldez (a2), Teresa García (a2), Jorge Baro (a2) and José L. Rueda (a2)...

Abstract

The Bay of Málaga is located in a high biodiversity and productivity area that harbours a wide variety of commercial species exploited by different fishing fleets. Benthic and demersal fauna from circalittoral soft bottoms have been studied using a benthic dredge (BD) (8 sampling stations) and an otter trawl (OT) (8 sampling stations on a seasonal basis). Some sediment and water column variables, as well as the trawling activity, have also been studied and used for analysing their linkage with the fauna. A total of 287 species have been found in these bottoms and fish, molluscs and crustaceans represented the most diverse and abundant faunistic groups. A new record of the decapod Hippolyte leptometrae for Spanish waters is also included in this study. Some multivariate analyses using BD samples indicated the presence of three assemblages, but these seem to represent different facies of a single benthic community due to the absence of acute sediment changes and significant differences in the fauna. OT samples only displayed differences related to seasons but not to sediment types or depth. These seasonal differences seem to be linked to biological and ecological features of both dominant and/or commercial species. Mud and organic matter contents (%OM) in sediment, as well as the temperature, were the main variables linked to the spatial distribution of the benthic community identified with BD, whereas medium and coarse sand as well as gravel contents were the main variables linked to the changes of the epibenthic and demersal assemblage resulting from OT samples. The information of this study is of importance for improving the knowledge on the biodiversity of circalittoral soft bottoms of the Mediterranean and Alboran Sea as well as for the potential creation of a Marine Fisheries Reserve in the Bay of Málaga.

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Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Elena Moya-Urbano, E-mail: emoyaurbano@gmail.com

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Biodiversity and spatio-temporal changes of benthic and demersal assemblages of circalittoral soft bottoms of the Bay of Málaga (northern Alboran Sea)

  • Elena Moya-Urbano (a1), Javier Urra (a2), Pablo Marina (a2), Marina Gallardo-núñez (a2), J. Enrique García Raso (a1), Patricia Bárcenas (a2), José M. Serna Quintero (a2), Ana Giráldez (a2), Teresa García (a2), Jorge Baro (a2) and José L. Rueda (a2)...

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