Distribution of soft-bottom mollusks (Mollusca) in Mersin Bay (eastern Mediterranean Sea)


Abstract: A total of 44 molluscan species belonging to 5 classes were identified in 3 transects (including depths of 10, 25, 50, 75, 100 and 200 m) located in Kumkuyu, Limonlu, and Erdemli. Overall, no significant difference in community parameters such as diversity index, evenness index, and species richness was found among transects. The species abundance showed seasonal and depth-wise variations. The highest species richness (6-16 species) was encountered between depths of 10 and 100 m in winter and spring, whereas the molluscan population increased in warm seasons due to the high abundance of Corbula gibba and Nucula nitidosa. Bivalves and gastropods were abundantly found at depths of 10-200 m, 10-25 m, and 75-100 m. Two main molluscan assemblages were determined: the first assemblage occurred in the shallow water (10-50 m) and was characterized by high abundances of C. gibba, Abra alba, and Tellimya ferruginosa, and the second occurred in deep waters (75-200 m) and was characterized by the presence of Falcidens gutturosus, N. nitidosa, and Astarte fusca. Depth, the fine-grain size of sediment, and total organic carbon were the main factors governing the distribution of the mollusks in the area. Among the species, only Conomurex persicus was an alien species.

Keywords: Zoobenthos, Mollusca, Mersin Bay, Levantine Sea, Turkey

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