Broad-scale ecological distribution of dominant macrozoobenthic taxa of the northern Cilician shelf, eastern Mediterranean Sea: crustaceans


Abstract: The distribution of crustaceans in 3 transects (İskenderun, Mersin, and Anamur bays, including depths of 10, 25, 50, 75, 100, and 200 m) located within Turkish coastal borders of the Cilician shelf was studied between 2005 and 2007 to show the association with habitat types, eutrophication level, and depth-dependent environmental parameters in representative months of each season (winter, spring, summer, and autumn). A total of 153 crustacean taxa were found. Of the specimens identified at species level, 93 species were distributed in the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, 12 in the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, and 4 in the cosmopolitan waters of the oceans. Three crustacean assemblages were distinguished according to the habitat types and eutrophication levels of the study sites: 1) the crustacean community of the eutrophic regions was dominated by decapods and characterized by high biomass, low faunistic characters, and high nutrient concentrations; 2) the assemblage of the bottom, vegetated with a meadow, exhibited well-diversified assemblages mainly composed of amphipod species with high faunistic characters, low biomass, and dissolved oxygen content; and 3) the assemblage of the nonvegetated undisturbed soft bottom was associated with the sedimentary parameters along the bottom depths (10-25 m, 50-100 m, and 150-200 m).

Keywords: Zoobenthos, Crustacea, Cilician shelf, Turkey

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