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Long-term changes in the structure of benthic communities: revisiting a sampling transect in Crete after 24 years
Tsikopoulou, I.; Moraitis, M.L.; Geropoulos, A.; Papadopoulou, K.N.; Papageorgiou, N.; Plaiti, W.; Smith, C.J.; Karakassis, I.; Eleftheriou, A. (2019). Long-term changes in the structure of benthic communities: revisiting a sampling transect in Crete after 24 years. Mar. Environ. Res. 144: 9-19. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.marenvres.2018.11.008
In: Marine Environmental Research. Applied Science Publishers: Barking. ISSN 0141-1136; e-ISSN 1879-0291, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine
Author keywords
    Benthic communities; Abundance; Diversity; Long-term changes; Ecological status

Authors  Top 
  • Tsikopoulou, I.
  • Moraitis, M.L.
  • Geropoulos, A.
  • Papadopoulou, K.N.
  • Papageorgiou, N., more
  • Plaiti, W.
  • Smith, C.J.
  • Karakassis, I., more
  • Eleftheriou, A., more

Abstract
    A bathymetric transect in the north coast of Crete first studied in 1989, was revisited 24 years later. Identical sampling design, season, techniques and protocols were followed in both studies in order to minimize bias in the long-term comparisons. This comprehensive macrofaunal dataset (4 stations, 2 sampling seasons, 7 replicates in each study) revealed changes in benthic diversity and community composition between the sampling periods. The recorded changes were higher at the stations located close to the coastal zone. In addition, while benthic communities showed lower total abundance during the recent sampling period, species abundances were more evenly distributed indicating that some species dominated the historical communities. In spite of these changes, the ecological status remained above the threshold values for good ecological status. The results indicated that changes in the benthic community seem to have been driven by local anthropogenic factors and natural variability rather than by large-scale factors such as nutrients influxes in the entire Mediterranean Basin.

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