|Molluscan assemblages in littoral soft bottoms of the Alboran Sea (Western Mediterranean Sea)|
|Urra, J.; Gofas, S.; Rueda, J.L.; Marina, P. (2011). Molluscan assemblages in littoral soft bottoms of the Alboran Sea (Western Mediterranean Sea). Mar. Biol. Res. 7(1): 27-42|
|In: Marine Biology Research. Taylor & Francis: Oslo. ISSN 1745-1000, more|
The structure of the molluscan assemblages inhabiting the subtidal bottoms off the west coast of Malaga province (southern Spain) and their relation to sediment characteristics were analysed with both univariate and multivariate parameters. Five significantly different molluscan assemblages were identified and assigned to 'sables fins bien calibrs' (SFBC, well sorted fine sands); 'dtritique ctier' (DC, coastal bioclastic sands); 'dtritique envas' (DE, muddy bioclastic sands); and 'coralligne' (CO, coralligenous) biocoenoses of Prs and Picard classification. A total of 234 molluscan species were identified, with gastropods as the dominant group (135 species). An increase of diversity and evenness with depth has been observed, with the highest values for both indexes on a rocky outcrop, and the lowest in the shallower fine sand assemblage dominated by few species. The different molluscan assemblages inhabiting these sublittoral bottoms were conditioned by depth, percentage of gravel and percentage of clay. A large proportion of tropical West African species is found in the area, some of them reaching their distributional limit towards the Mediterranean Sea. The southern Iberian coasts, in the confluence of Atlantic and Mediterranean waters and between Africa and Europe, are therefore highlighted as one of the areas with highest molluscan species richness in Europe, and require a conservation policy in order to preserve this unique European biodiversity heritage.