Seasonality and trophic diversity in molluscan assemblages from the Bay of Tunis (southern Mediterranean Sea)
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AuthorsAntit, M. (Mouna); Daoulatli, A. (Asma); Urra, J. (Javier); Gofas, S. (Sergio); Rueda, J.L. (José Luis); Salas, C. (Carmen)
Soft bottom molluscan assemblages from the Bay of Tunis have been studied in order to analyse their seasonality and trophic diversity in relation to environmental variables. A total of 147 species of molluscs was identified, with gastropods displaying the highest species richness and bivalves the highest abundances, and including five non-indigenous species such as the dominant bryozoan grazer Polycerella emertoni. Carnivorous and scavenger gastropods were among the most frequent species, reflecting a diverse benthic community. Seasonal changes were significant, being more acute at 3-4 m than at 10-15 m depth, and were correlated mainly with seawater temperature and percentage of organic matter in the sediment. The high affluence of tourists in summer was coincident with high decreases in species richness and abundance of molluscs, together with a strong siltation of the sediment. Nevertheless, most trophic groups persisted and the trophic diversity was relatively high. Significant ...
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