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Lluc Rehues, Jana Verdura, Simonetta Fraschetti, Enric Ballesteros, Silvia Bianchelli, Aurélie Blanfuné, Sabour Brahim, Antonia Chiarore, Roberto Danovaro, Erika Fabbrizzi, Sylvaine Giakoumi, Stelios Katsanevakis, Eleni Kytinou, Luisa Mangialajo, Ina Nasto, Athanasios Nikolaou, Sotiris Orfanidis, Gil Rilov, Fabio Rindi, Marta Sales, Maria Sini, Laura Tamburello, Thierry Thibaut, Konstantinos Tsirintanis, Emma Cebrian
Marine ecosystems are changing globally under the influence of human pressures and climate change. In the Mediterranean Sea, these threats are affecting canopy-forming fucacean algae including the genera Cystoseira, Gongolaria and Ericaria, which are ecosystem-engineers hosting high biodiversity and providing valuable ecosystem services. In the last decades, a steep decline in their abundance has been reported, mainly linked to habitat destruction, pollution, overgrazing, and climate change. Although much research on the topic has been conducted, a specific literature overview of the issue at the basin scale to prioritize conservation actions is lacking. Through scientific literature review, exploitation of unpublished data, and expert judgement, we aim to provide a refined picture of the ecological status and stressors affecting macroalgae forests populations at the Mediterranean Sea scale. There was an uneven distribution of available information on Fucales among ecoregions, as well as on the main stressors actually driving populations decline. The ecological status of Cystoseira forests is poor in most regions, and fewer data are available in the southern Mediterranean Sea. Data from the Eastern Mediterranean show that climate change and herbivores are the major concern factors, whereas in the Western and Central Mediterranean canopy forming fucalean populations have been historically threatened by overgrazing, eutrophication and habitat destruction. The compilation of this information represents a baseline of the current knowledge of fucalean forests that is of great interest to ensure the viability of Cystoseira forests by providing assertive actions based on the ecological traits threats of each region.
Conference Presentation, SER2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program