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Functional structure of marine benthic assemblages using Biological Traits Analysis (BTA): A study along the Emilia-Romagna coastline (Italy, North-West Adriatic Sea)
Paganelli, D.; Marchini, A.; Occhipinti-Ambrogi, A. (2012). Functional structure of marine benthic assemblages using Biological Traits Analysis (BTA): A study along the Emilia-Romagna coastline (Italy, North-West Adriatic Sea). Est., Coast. and Shelf Sci. 96: 245-256. hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.ecss.2011.11.014
In: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. Academic Press: London; New York. ISSN 0272-7714, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Keywords
    Adriatic Sea; Macrobenthos; Marine
Author keywords
    Biological traits analysis; Community functioning

Authors  Top 
  • Paganelli, D.
  • Marchini, A.
  • Occhipinti-Ambrogi, A.

Abstract
    The functional diversity index has shown that the functional diversity of the macrobenthic community increased along a spatial gradient of distance from the Po river delta (Emilia-Romagna coast, Italy, North-Adriatic Sea), which suggests that riverine inputs have a detrimental effect on community functioning. This study focuses on two different depths along a southward gradient of increasing distance from the Po river delta where the Po river is the main source of freshwater and nutrient inputs in the North-Adriatic Sea. A Biological Traits Analysis (BTA) was used to examine a dataset of 156 soft-bottom macrobenthic species that were collected at eight stations in this area. Instead of comparing communities on the basis of their taxonomic composition, BTA uses a series of life history, morphological and behavioural characteristics of species to indicate aspects of their ecological functioning. The variability of the Emilia-Romagna dataset was governed by relatively few biological traits: growth form, trophic group, type of movement, habit, adult mobility and bioturbation activity. The community closer to the coastline was mainly composed of moderately mobile vermiform organisms with burrowing or tube-dwelling behaviour, and deposit feeding behaviour. However, the offshore community was mainly characterized by organisms with a laterally compressed or globose body and tube-dwelling behaviour; filter feeders and deposit feeders were dominant.

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