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Seasonal and depth-related biodiversity of leaf epiphytic Cheilostome Bryozoa in a Mediterranean Posidonia oceanica meadow
Lepoint, G.; Balancier, B.; Gobert, S. (2014). Seasonal and depth-related biodiversity of leaf epiphytic Cheilostome Bryozoa in a Mediterranean Posidonia oceanica meadow. Cah. Biol. Mar. 55(1): 57-67
In: Cahiers de Biologie Marine. Station Biologique de Roscoff: Paris. ISSN 0007-9723, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
Author keywords
    Epiphytism; Biofouling; Seagrass; Bryozoa; Biodiversity; Ecologicaltraits; Mediterranean Sea

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Abstract
    Epiphytes living fixed on Posidonia oceanica L. (Delile) are important faunal and floral components of seagrass meadow ecosystems. They are involved as main actors in trophic web and major ecosystem processes of this endangered coastal habitat. This paper aims to assess the seasonality and the bathymetric variability of epiphytic Bryozoa which are the most important animal group in terms of both diversity and abundance living on P. oceanica leaves. Posidonia shoots were collected from the Revellata Bay (Corsica, France) in four seasons from 7 to 30 m depth. Colony densities reached more than 87000 colonies.m-2 at 10 m depth in spring. The bryozoan species distribution and abundance changed substantially according to seasons and depths, being maximum in spring and minimal in winter. Dominant colony morphotypes change according to depth, probably in relation with water motion gradient. This confirms that there are bathymetric and seasonal variability for different epiphytic organisms colonizing the Posidonia leaves. This enlightens the importance to protect Posidonia meadow on its full depth extension and in its connectivity with other habitats to conserve optimal epiphytic biodiversity and functions.

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