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Algal flora associated with a Halophila stipulacea (Forsskal) Ascherson (Hydrocharitaceae, Helobiae) stand in the western Mediterranean
Rindi, F.; Maltagliati, F.; Rossi, F.; Acunto, S.; Cinelli, F. (1999). Algal flora associated with a Halophila stipulacea (Forsskal) Ascherson (Hydrocharitaceae, Helobiae) stand in the western Mediterranean. Oceanol. Acta 22(4): 421-429
In: Oceanologica Acta. Elsevier/Gauthier-Villars: Montreuil. ISSN 0399-1784, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Rindi, F.
  • Maltagliati, F., more
  • Rossi, F., more
  • Acunto, S.
  • Cinelli, F.

Abstract
    Halophila stipulacea, a seagrass introduced into the Mediterranean Sea as a Lessepsian immigrant, is nowadays common in the eastern Mediterranean, and it was recently recorded in the western Mediterranean; very little information is available about the algal flora associated with this species. During a survey of a Halophila stipulacea stand at Vulcano Island (Eolian Islands, western Mediterranean), samples were collected at three depths (5 m, 15 m and 25 m) for identification of algal epiphytes. Thirty-six species of macroalgae were found. The epiflora of the leaves consisted of 20 species, the others being mixed with or entangled in the rhizomes. On the leaves, Ceramium tenerrimum, Dasya corymbifera, Polysiphonia cfr. tenerrima, Spyridia filamentosa, Chondria pygmaea and Laurencia sp. were the most common species; between the rhizomes, Dictyota linearis was abundant. A differentiation of the epiphytic assemblage between 5 m and the other depths was observed; the 5 m samples were characterized by the abundance of Ceramium tenerrimum, Chondria pygmaea and Polysiphonia cfr. tenerrima, while at 15 m and 25 m Laurencia sp., Dasya corymbifera and Spyridia filamentosa were the most common species. Epiphytic cover was generally very low. No rare species were found among the epiphytes. In comparison with other Mediterranean seagrasses, Halophila stipulacea has a qualitatively and quantitatively poor epiphytic flora. In particular, the virtual absence of encrusting corallines is noteworthy. A fast turnover rate of the leaves is hypothesized to be the main reason for this scarcity. Differences between this and other studies on epiphytes of Halophila stipulacea stands are discussed.

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