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The Mediterranean benthos
Pérès, J.-M. (1967). The Mediterranean benthos. Oceanogr. Mar. Biol. Ann. Rev. 5: 449-533
In: Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review. Aberdeen University Press/Allen & Unwin: London. ISSN 0078-3218, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Document type: Review


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  • Pérès, J.-M.

    From the point of view of its benthic populations, the Mediterranean is without doubt one of the most interesting seas. Certainly the flora and fauna are rich in species, but above all, it is the diversity of the environmental conditions which make this region of such interest. The benthic populations bordering on the northwest of Europe are amongst the best known of all the seas of the world; the greater part of these populations is found in the colder parts of the Mediterranean but there are also distinctly subtropical populations notably along the eastern coast of Tunisia, in the Levant Sea, as well as in certain coastal lagoons. The Mediterranean also offers the possibility, perhaps unique throughout the world, of investigating the homologies between the benthic communities of temperate seas and the much less well-known ones of tropical seas. Although over most of its coastline the Mediterranean does not present a marked tidal situation, there are two areas in which the tidal amplitude is quite important, namely, one with a temperate climate in the extreme north of the Adriatic and another with a subtropical climate in the Gulf of Gabès; these peculiarities allow valuable comparisons to be made, comparisons whose interest is of very general importance. Finally, the penetration of species from the Red Sea via the Suez Canal, which has been accelerated during the last 15 to 20 years, represents an exceptional disturbance of local benthic communities by immigrants. The changes in the hydrographical regime which will follow the regulation of the waters of the Nile, which is at present in progress, will give a further unusual situation for comparison.

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