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Invertebrate borers of Posidonia oceanica scales: relationship between their distribution and lepidochronological parameters
Guidetti, P.; Bussotti, S.; Gambi, M.C.; Lorenti, M. (1997). Invertebrate borers of Posidonia oceanica scales: relationship between their distribution and lepidochronological parameters. Aquat. Bot. 58(2): 151-164
In: Aquatic Botany. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0304-3770, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Guidetti, P., more
  • Bussotti, S.
  • Gambi, M.C., more
  • Lorenti, M.

Abstract
    The occurrence and pattern of distribution of invertebrate borers in the scales (remains of leaf bases still connected to the rhizome) of the seagrass Posidonia oceanica was studied in two meadows of the Mediterranean Sea. At Noli (Ligurian Sea), Posidonia shoots were sampled at 1, 5, 10 and 15 m depths, while at cape Coda Cavallo (Northern Sardinia) samples were collected only at 6 m depth. The lepidochronology technique (based on the annual cycle variation in the scale thickness) was employed in order to study the relationship between plant and borers and to characterize their microhabitat in the stem. Borers belong to Polychaeta and Crustacea Isopoda. Three species of polychaetes belonging to the family Eunicidae (Lysidice ninetta Audouin and M. Edwards, Lysidice collaris (Grube) and Nematonereis unicornis (Grube)) and one species of isopod of the family Limnoriidae (Limnoria tuberculata (Sowinski)) were responsible for burrowing within Posidonia scales. Estimated density of borers reached in some instances values as high as 278 individuals m−2. Isopods occurred in younger scales, whereas polychaetes inhabited older scales. A positive trend was observed between polychaete width (3rd body segment) and scale thickness; however, both Spearman rank correlation and linear regression coefficients showed quite low significant values. In some instances polychaetes burrowed also into the living tissues of the shoots. Borers have been recorded also in several other Posidonia beds along the Italian coasts. The role of scale borers for the decaying processes of the Posidonia system may be important.

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