Skip to main content Accessibility help

Density and distribution patterns of the endangered species Pinna nobilis within a Posidonia oceanica meadow in the Gulf of Oristano (Italy)

  • S. Coppa (a1) (a2), I. Guala (a2), G.A. de Lucia (a1), G. Massaro (a3) and M. Bressan (a4)...


Pinna nobilis is an endemic bivalve of the Mediterranean Sea. In the last decades P. nobilis populations have declined drastically due to increasing anthropogenic pressure and it has been declared a protected species since 1992. Despite the need for conservation, knowledge of the ecology and monitoring of the main populations of P. nobilis are limited. This study considered a population living within a Posidonia oceanica meadow in the Gulf of Oristano (western Mediterranean, Italy). The study area, about 150 hectares, part of which is included within a Marine Protected Area and a Site of Community Importance, was subdivided in 3 sub-areas. The percentage cover of different habitat types (P. oceanica, dead matte and sand) in each sub-area was measured and meadow features (substrate coverage, matte compactness and shoot density) characterized. The hypotheses of differences in density, percentage of dead individuals, population structure, shell burial level and orientation of P. nobilis, were investigated according to sub-areas and to habitat type. The spatial distribution was patchy, and the habitat type resulted a key factor in determining both density and distribution. A strong edge effect was demonstrated: more than half of the observed individuals colonized the P. oceanica border. Matte compactness and shoot density were found to affect the density and distribution of P. nobilis. Shell burial level and percentage of dead individuals varied with sub-areas and habitat types. Size distribution was bimodal and common shell orientation was observed in two sub-areas. These results contribute to increase the knowledge of population ecology of this species and to provide useful information for implementing conservation policies.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: S. Coppa, IAMC–CNR, Institute for Coastal Marine Environment–National Research Council (Oristano Section), Loc. Sa Mardini, 09072 Torregrande (Oristano, Italy) email:


Hide All
Addis, P., Secci, M., Brundu, G., Manunza, A., Corrias, S. and Cau, A. (2009) Density, size structure, shell orientation, and epibiontic colonization of the fan mussel Pinna nobilis L. 1758 (Mollusca: Bivalvia) in three contrasting habitats in an estuarine area of Sardinia (W Mediterranean). Scientia Marina 73, 143152.
Anderson, M.J. and Robinson, J. (2003) Generalised discriminant analysis based on distances. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Statistics 45, 301318.
Anderson, M.J. and Willis, T.J. (2003) Canonical analysis of principal coordinates: an ecologically meaningful approach for constrained ordination. Ecology 84, 511525.
Ayaz, A., Acarli, D., Altinagac, U., Ozekinci, U., Kara, A. and Ozen, O. (2006) Ghost fishing by monofilament and multifilament gillnets in Izmir Bay, Turkey. Fisheries Research 79, 267271.
Bakus, G.J. (2007) Quantitative analysis of marine biological communities: field biology and environment. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley-Interscience J. Wiley & Sons Inc.
Bianchi, C.N., Pronzato, R., Cattaneo-Vietti, R., Benedetti-Cecchi, L., Morri, C., Pansini, M., Chemello, R., Milazzo, M., Fraschetti, S., Terlizzi, A., Peirano, A., Salvati, E., Benzoni, F., Calcinai, B., Cerrano, C. and Bavestrello, G. (2004) Hard bottoms. In Gambi, M.C. and Dappiano, M. (eds) Mediterranean marine benthos: a manual of methods for its sampling and study. Biologia Marina Mediterranea 11, pp. 185215.
Bologna, P.A.X. and Heck, K.L. (1999) Differential predation and growth rates of bay scallops within a seagrass habitat. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 239, 299314.
Butler, A., Vicente, N. and De Gaulejac, B. (1993) Ecology of the pteroid bivalves Pinna bicolor Gmelin and Pinna nobilis L. Marine Life 3, 3745.
Caronni, S., Cristo, B. and Torelli, A. (2007) Tentativi di reimpianto del mollusco bivalve Pinna nobilis (Linneo, 1758) in una AMP della Sardegna. Biologia Marina Mediterranea 14, 9899.
Catsiki, V.A. and Catsikieri, C.H. (1992) Presence of chromium in P. nobilis collected from a polluted area. Fresenius Environmental Bulletin 1, 644649.
Centoducati, G., Tarsitano, E., Bottalico, A., Marvulli, M., Lai, O.R. and Crescenzo, G. (2007) Monitoring of the endangered Pinna nobilis Linné, 1758 in the Mar Grande of Taranto (Ionian Sea, Italy). Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 131, 339347.
Como, S., Magni, P., Casu, D., Floris, A., Giordani, G., Natale, S., Fenzi, G.A., Signa, G. and De Falco, G. (2007) Sediment characteristics and macrofauna distribution along a human-modified inlet in the Gulf of Oristano (Sardinia, Italy). Marine Pollution Bulletin 54, 733744.
Cucco, A., Perilli, A., De Falco, G., Ghezzo, M. and Umgiesser, G. (2006) Water circulation and transport timescale in the Gulf of Oristano. Chemistry and Ecology 22, 307331.
De Falco, G., Baroli, M., Cucco, A. and Simeone, S. (2008) Intrabasinal conditions promoting the development of a biogenic carbonate sedimentary facies associated with the seagrass Posidonia oceanica. Continental Shelf Research 28, 797812.
De Gaulejac, B. and Vicente, N. (1990) Ecologie de Pinna nobilis (L.) mollusque bivalve sur les côtes de Corse. Essais de transplantation et expériences en milieu contrôlé. Haliotis 10, 83100.
Fiorito, G. and Gherardi, F. (1999) Prey-handling behaviour of Octopus vulgaris (Mollusca, Cephalopoda) on bivalve preys. Behavioural Processes 46, 7588.
Francour, P., Ganteaume, A. and Poulain, M. (1999) Effects of boat anchoring in Posidonia oceanica seagrass beds in Port-Cros National Park (north-western Mediterranean Sea). Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 9, 391400.
Galinou-Mitsoudi, S., Vlahavas, G. and Papoutsi, O. (2006) Population study of the protected bivalve Pinna nobilis (Linnaeus, 1758) in Thermaikos Gulf (North Aegean Sea). Journal of Biological Research 5, 4753.
García-March, J.R. (2003) Contribution to the knowledge of the status of Pinna nobilis (L.) 1758 in Spanish coasts. Mémoires de l'Istitute Océanographique Paul Ricard, pp. 2941.
García-March, J.R. and Ferrer Ferrer, J. (1995) Biometría de Pinna nobilis L., 1758: una revisión de la ecuación de De Gaulejac y Vicente (1990). Boletin del Instituto Español de Oceanografia 11, 175181.
García-March, J.R., García-Carrascosa, A.M. and Peña, A.L. (2002) In situ measurement of Pinna nobilis shells for age and growth studies: a new device. PSZN: Marine Ecology 23, 207217.
García-March, J.R., García-Carrascosa, A.M., Pena Cantero, A.L. and Wang, Y.G. (2007a) Population structure, mortality and growth of Pinna nobilis Linnaeus, 1758 (Mollusca, Bivalvia) at different depths in Moraira bay (Alicante, Western Mediterranean). Marine Biology 150, 861871.
García-March, J.R., Pérez-Rojas, L. and García-Carrascosa, A.M. (2007b) Influence of hydrodynamic forces on population structure of Pinna nobilis L., 1758 (Mollusca: Bivalvia): the critical combination of drag force, water depth, shell size and orientation. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 342, 202212.
García-March, J.R., Sanchís Solsona, M.Á. and García-Carrascosa, A.M. (2008) Shell gaping behaviour of Pinna nobilis L., 1758: circadian and circalunar rhythms revealed by in situ monitoring. Marine Biology 153, 689698.
Hall-Spencer, J.M., Froglia, C., Atkinson, R.J.A. and Moore, P.G. (1999) The impact of Rapido trawling for scallops, Pecten jacobaeus (L.), on the benthos of the Gulf of Venice. ICES Journal of Marine Science 56, 111124.
Katsanevakis, S. (2005) Population ecology of the fan mussel Pinna nobilis in a marine lake. Endangered Species Research 1, 19.
Katsanevakis, S. (2007a) Density surface modelling with line transect sampling as a tool for abundance estimation of marine benthic species: the Pinna nobilis example in a marine lake. Marine Biology 152, 7785.
Katsanevakis, S. (2007b) Growth and mortality rates of the fan mussel Pinna nobilis in Lake Vouliagmeni (Korinthiakos Gulf, Greece): a generalized additive modelling approach. Marine Biology 152, 13191331.
Katsanevakis, S., Thessalou-Legaki, M., Karlou-Riga, C., Lefkaditou, E., Dimitriou, E. and Verriopoulos, G. (2007) Information-theory approach to allometric growth of marine organisms. Marine Biology 151, 949959.
Pergent, G., Pergent-Martini, C. and Boudouresque, C.F. (1995) Utilisation de l'herbier à Posidonia oceanica comme indicateur biologique de la qualité du milieu littoral en Méditerranée: Etat des connaissances. Mésogée 54.
Porcheddu, A.S., Castelli, A. and Romor, R. (1998) Considerazioni su un popolamento di Pinna nobilis L., nel Golfo degli Aranci (Sardegna nord-orientale): prospettive di salvaguardia. Bollettino Malacologico 33, 2124.
Rabaoui, L., Zouari, S.T., Katsanevakis, S., Kalthoum, O. and Hassine, B. (2007) Comparison of absolute and relative growth patterns among five Pinna nobilis populations along the Tunisian coastline: an information theory approach. Marine Biology 152, 537548.
Richardson, C.A., Kennedy, H., Duarte, C.M., Kennedy, D.P. and Proud, S.V. (1999) Age and growth of the fan mussel Pinna nobilis from south-east Spanish Mediterranean seagrass (Posidonia oceanica) meadows. Marine Biology 133, 205212.
Richardson, C.A., Peharda, M., Kennedy, H., Kennedy, P. and Onofri, V. (2004) Age, growth rate and season of recruitment of Pinna nobilis (L) in the Croatian Adriatic determined from Mg:Ca and Sr:Ca shell profiles. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 299, 116.
Šiletić, T. and Peharda, M. (2003) Population study of the fan shell Pinna nobilis L. in Malo and Veliko Jezero of the Mljet National Park (Adriatic Sea). Scientia Marina 67, 9198.
Underwood, A.J. (1997) Experiments in ecology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Vicente, N., Moreteau, J.C. and Escoubet, P. (1980) Etude de l'évolution d'une population de Pinna nobilis L. (mollusque eulamellibranche) au large de l'anse de la Palud (Parc national sous-marin de Port-Cros, France). Travaux Scientifiques du Parc National de Port-Cros 6, 3967.
Zar, J.H. (1999) Biostatistical analysis. 4th edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Zavodnik, D. (1967) Contribution to the ecology of Pinna nobilis L. (Moll. Bivalvia) in the Northern Adriatic sea. Thalassia Jugoslavica 3, 93102.


Density and distribution patterns of the endangered species Pinna nobilis within a Posidonia oceanica meadow in the Gulf of Oristano (Italy)

  • S. Coppa (a1) (a2), I. Guala (a2), G.A. de Lucia (a1), G. Massaro (a3) and M. Bressan (a4)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed