This study aimed to assess the benthic ecosystem trophic status in a heavily polluted marine area and the response of the microbenthic community to multiple and diffuse anthropogenic impacts, integrating information coming from the active and resting (plankton's cysts) components of microbenthos. Two sampling campaigns were carried out in the period 2013-2014 and four sampling sites at different levels of industrial contamination were chosen within the first and second inlet of the Mar Piccolo of Taranto. The chemical contamination affected to a higher extent the active microbenthos than the resting one. In the central part of the first inlet, characterised by more marine features, thrives a very rich and biodiverse microbenthic community. In contrast, at the polluted site near the military navy arsenal, extremely low densities (9576 +/- 1732 cells cm(-3)) were observed for active microbenthos, but not for the resting community. Here, the high level of contamination selected for tychopelagic diatom species, i.e., thriving just above the surface sediments, while the other life forms died or moved away. Following the adoption of a 10 mu m mesh, for the first time, resting spores produced by small diatoms of the genus Chaetoceros were found. Our results further indicate that although the Mar Piccolo is very shallow, the benthic system is scarcely productive, likely as a consequence of the accumulated contaminants in the surface sediments that probably interfere with the proper functioning of the benthic ecosystem.

Microbenthic community structure and trophic status of sediments in the Mar Piccolo of Taranto (Mediterranean, Ionian Sea)

Cibic T;
2016

Abstract

This study aimed to assess the benthic ecosystem trophic status in a heavily polluted marine area and the response of the microbenthic community to multiple and diffuse anthropogenic impacts, integrating information coming from the active and resting (plankton's cysts) components of microbenthos. Two sampling campaigns were carried out in the period 2013-2014 and four sampling sites at different levels of industrial contamination were chosen within the first and second inlet of the Mar Piccolo of Taranto. The chemical contamination affected to a higher extent the active microbenthos than the resting one. In the central part of the first inlet, characterised by more marine features, thrives a very rich and biodiverse microbenthic community. In contrast, at the polluted site near the military navy arsenal, extremely low densities (9576 +/- 1732 cells cm(-3)) were observed for active microbenthos, but not for the resting community. Here, the high level of contamination selected for tychopelagic diatom species, i.e., thriving just above the surface sediments, while the other life forms died or moved away. Following the adoption of a 10 mu m mesh, for the first time, resting spores produced by small diatoms of the genus Chaetoceros were found. Our results further indicate that although the Mar Piccolo is very shallow, the benthic system is scarcely productive, likely as a consequence of the accumulated contaminants in the surface sediments that probably interfere with the proper functioning of the benthic ecosystem.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.14083/1934
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