Special Issue "Historical and Current Diversity Patterns of Mediterranean Marine Species"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Marine Diversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Sabrina Lo Brutto
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Dept. STeBiCeF, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Palermo, Italy
Interests: Mediterranean marine biology;marine biodiversity;population genetics; barcoding; systematics and taxonomy of amphipoda; non-indigenous species

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Mediterranean Sea is a semi-enclosed basin which has experienced different natural and anthropogenic phenomena, causes of intraspecific or community changes over time. The Mediterranean Sea went through dramatic changes in its biota through the last 6 million years and more quickly in recent times. All these events have left a footprint on the gene pool of marine species, on their genetic and morphoanatomical features, and on the loss or expansion of the geographical range extent. Today, it is slowly changing its physical and ecological characteristics. The changes in its environmental conditions have been followed by changes in its species composition and have been recorded in historical museum collections.

In this issue, biodiversity in the Mediterranean Sea is described at a synchronic or diachronic level, highlighting the past two centuries for which museum collections can provide overlooked information.

Prof. Sabrina Lo Brutto
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diversity is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Mediterranean sea
  • Marine species
  • Museum collections
  • Biodiversity

Published Papers (8 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review, Other

Editorial
Historical and Current Diversity Patterns of Mediterranean Marine Species
Diversity 2021, 13(4), 156; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/d13040156 - 06 Apr 2021
Viewed by 498
Abstract
The Mediterranean is a sea which, despite its peculiar geomorphological history and ecological–oceanographic features, still receives less attention than it ought to [...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review, Other

Article
Diversity and Distribution Patterns of Hard Bottom Polychaete Assemblages in the North Adriatic Sea (Mediterranean)
Diversity 2020, 12(10), 408; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/d12100408 - 21 Oct 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1041
Abstract
The knowledge on the hard bottom polychaete assemblages in the Northern Adriatic Sea, a Mediterranean region strongly affected by environmental pressures, is scarce and outdated. The objective of this paper was to update the information on polychaete diversity and depict their patterns of [...] Read more.
The knowledge on the hard bottom polychaete assemblages in the Northern Adriatic Sea, a Mediterranean region strongly affected by environmental pressures, is scarce and outdated. The objective of this paper was to update the information on polychaete diversity and depict their patterns of natural spatial variation, in relation to changes in algal coverage at increasing depth. Hard bottom benthos was quantitatively sampled by scraping off the substrate from three stations at Sveti Ivan Island (North Adriatic) at three depths (1.5 m, 5 m and 25 m). Polychaete fauna comprised 107 taxa (the majority of them identified at species level) belonging to 22 families, with the family Syllidae ranking first in terms of number of species, followed by Sabellidae, Nereididae, Eunicidae and Serpulidae. Considering the number of polychaete species and their identity, the present data differed considerably from previous studies carried out in the area. Two alien species, Lepidonotus tenuisetosus, which represented a new record for the Adriatic Sea, and Nereis persica, were recorded. The highest mean abundance, species diversity and internal structural similarity of polychaete assemblages were found at 5 m depth, characterised by complex and heterogeneous algal habitat. The DISTLM forward analysis revealed that the distribution of several algal taxa as well as some algal functional-morphological groups significantly explained the observed distribution patterns of abundance and diversity of polychaete assemblages. The diversity of the North Adriatic hard bottom polychaete fauna is largely underestimated and needs regular updating in order to detect and monitor changes of benthic communities in the area. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Filling the Gap and Improving Conservation: How IUCN Red Lists and Historical Scientific Data Can Shed More Light on Threatened Sharks in the Italian Seas
Diversity 2020, 12(10), 389; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/d12100389 - 10 Oct 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1550
Abstract
Chondrichthyans are one of the most threatened marine taxa worldwide. This is also the case in the Mediterranean Sea, which is considered an extinction hotspot for rays and sharks. The central position of the Italian peninsula makes it an ideal location for studying [...] Read more.
Chondrichthyans are one of the most threatened marine taxa worldwide. This is also the case in the Mediterranean Sea, which is considered an extinction hotspot for rays and sharks. The central position of the Italian peninsula makes it an ideal location for studying the status and changes of this sea. There is a lack of biological, ecological and historical data when assessing shark populations, which is also highlighted in the Red List of Threatened Species compiled by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Historical data can provide important information to better understand how chondrichthyan populations have changed over time. This study aims to provide a clearer understanding of the changes in distribution and abundance of eight shark species in the Italian seas that are currently classified as at risk of extinction by the IUCN. In this respect, a bibliographic review was conducted on items from the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century, focusing on the selected species. The results show that all sharks were considered common until the beginning of the 20th century but have declined since, with a clear negative trend, mainly in the past 70 years. The strong local decline has been attributed to overexploitation, bycatch, habitat loss, depletion of prey items and environmental pollution. Furthermore, historical data also allow us to avoid the issue of a ‘shifting baseline’, in which contemporary abundances are assumed to be “normal”. Using historical data to further our knowledge of the marine environment is becoming increasingly common, and is fundamental in understanding human impact and evaluating mitigation measures to manage and conserve marine species and environments. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Phycological Herbaria as a Useful Tool to Monitor Long-Term Changes of Macroalgae Diversity: Some Case Studies from the Mediterranean Sea
Diversity 2020, 12(8), 309; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/d12080309 - 10 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 786
Abstract
The Mediterranean Sea is currently experiencing a decline in the abundance of several key species, as a consequence of anthropogenic pressures (e.g., increase in human population, habitat modification and loss, pollution, coastal urbanization, overexploitation, introduction of non-indigenous species and climate change). Herbaria and [...] Read more.
The Mediterranean Sea is currently experiencing a decline in the abundance of several key species, as a consequence of anthropogenic pressures (e.g., increase in human population, habitat modification and loss, pollution, coastal urbanization, overexploitation, introduction of non-indigenous species and climate change). Herbaria and natural history collections are certainly fundamental for taxonomic studies, but they are also an invaluable, if currently underestimated, resource for understanding ecological and evolutionary responses of species to environmental changes. Macroalgae herbarium collections, which are really consistent (ranging from 200,000 to approximately 500,000 specimens) in some European herbaria (e.g., Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, University of Copenhagen, Natural History Museum in Kensington), can be successfully used as real “witnesses” to biodiversity changes. In this respect, we report some case studies from the Mediterranean Sea which summarize well the potential of macroalgae herbarium specimens to provide useful data on biodiversity changes. Indeed, these data enable the evaluation of the responses of biota, including shifts in species ranges, the detection of the presence of introduced species, and the prediction of changes in species distributions and patterns under future climate scenarios. To increase the use of this invaluable tool of research, their curation, the digitization of collections, and specimen genomics should be even more addressed. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Communication
A Mediterranean Monk Seal Pup on the Apulian Coast (Southern Italy): Sign of an Ongoing Recolonisation?
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 258; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/d12060258 - 25 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3314
Abstract
The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) is one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world. This species has been threatened since ancient times by human activities and currently amounts to approximately 700 individuals distributed in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea [...] Read more.
The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) is one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world. This species has been threatened since ancient times by human activities and currently amounts to approximately 700 individuals distributed in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea (Aegean and Ionian Sea) and Eastern Atlantic Ocean (Cabo Blanco and Madeira). In other areas, where the species is considered “probably extinct”, an increase in sporadic sightings has been recorded during recent years. Sightings and accidental catches of Mediterranean monk seals have become more frequent in the Adriatic Sea, mainly in Croatia but also along the coasts of Montenegro, Albania and Southern Italy. A Mediterranean monk seal pup was recovered on 27 January 2020 on the beach of Torre San Gennaro in Torchiarolo (Brindisi, Apulia, Italy). DNA was extracted from a tissue sample and the hypervariable region I (HVR1) of the mitochondrial DNA control region was amplified and sequenced. The alignment performed with seven previous published haplotypes showed that the individual belongs to the haplotype MM03, common in monk seals inhabiting the Greek islands of the Ionian Sea. This result indicates the Ionian Islands as the most probable geographical origin of the pup, highlighting the need to intensify research and conservation activities on this species even in areas where it seemed to be extinct. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Loss of Mitochondrial Genetic Diversity in Overexploited Mediterranean Swordfish (Xiphias gladius, 1759) Population
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 170; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/d12050170 - 26 Apr 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1061
Abstract
Intense and prolonged mortality caused by over-exploitation could drive the decay of genetic diversity which may lead to decrease species’ resilience to environmental changes, thus increasing their extinction risk. Swordfish is a high commercial value species, especially in the Mediterranean Sea, where it [...] Read more.
Intense and prolonged mortality caused by over-exploitation could drive the decay of genetic diversity which may lead to decrease species’ resilience to environmental changes, thus increasing their extinction risk. Swordfish is a high commercial value species, especially in the Mediterranean Sea, where it is affected by high catch levels. Mediterranean swordfish consist of a population genetically and biologically distinct from Atlantic ones and therefore managed as a separate stock. The last Mediterranean swordfish stock assessment reported that in the last forty years Mediterranean swordfish has been overfished and, to date, it is still subject to overfishing. A comparison between an available mitochondrial sequence dataset and a homologous current sample was carried out to investigate temporal genetic variation in the Mediterranean swordfish population over near twenty years. Our study provides the first direct measure of reduced genetic diversity for Mediterranean swordfish during a short period, as measured both in the direct loss of mitochondrial haplotypes and reduction in haplotype diversity. A reduction of the relative females’ effective population size in the recent sample has been also detected. The possible relationship between fishery activities and the loss of genetic diversity in the Mediterranean swordfish population is discussed. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Editorial, Research, Other

Review
Cetacean Strandings and Museum Collections: A Focus on Sicily Island Crossroads for Mediterranean Species
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 104; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/d13030104 - 26 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1194
Abstract
The study examined the extent of the cetacean strandings in Italy, with a particular focus on Sicily Island. The paper aimed to contribute to the description of a pattern that contemplates the “regular and rare” cetacean species passage along the Sicilian coast. The [...] Read more.
The study examined the extent of the cetacean strandings in Italy, with a particular focus on Sicily Island. The paper aimed to contribute to the description of a pattern that contemplates the “regular and rare” cetacean species passage along the Sicilian coast. The estimate of marine cetacean strandings was extrapolated from the National Strandings Data Bank (BDS—Banca Dati Spiaggiamenti) and evaluated according to a subdivision in three coastal subregions: the Tyrrhenian sub-basin (northern Sicilian coast), the Ionian sub-basin (eastern Sicilian coast), and the Channel of Sicily (southern Sicilian coast). Along the Italian coast, more than 4880 stranding events have been counted in the period 1990–2019. Most of these were recorded in five Italian regions: Apulia, Sicily, Sardinia, Tuscany, and Calabria. Approximately 15% of the recorded strandings in Italy occurred on the Sicilian coast. In Sicily Island, 725 stranded cetaceans were recorded in 709 stranding events, resulting in approximately 20 carcasses every year; the total number of specimens identified to species level was 539. The distribution along the Sicilian coast was the following: 312 recorded in the Tyrrhenian sub-basin, 193 in the Ionian sub-basin, and 220 in the Channel of Sicily. Stenella coeruleoalba was the species that can be considered as the stable record along the time-lapse investigated, and some rare species have been recorded as well. The role of Sicily Island as a sentinel territory of the cetacean distribution for the central Mediterranean Sea and as a region receiving a marine resource suitable for the scientific research and cetological museum collections is discussed herein. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Other

Opinion
Perception of Changes in Marine Benthic Habitats: The Relevance of Taxonomic and Ecological Memory
Diversity 2020, 12(12), 480; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/d12120480 - 16 Dec 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 856
Abstract
Having a reliable ecological reference baseline is pivotal to understanding the current status of benthic assemblages. Ecological awareness of our perception of environmental changes could be better described based on historical data. Otherwise, we meet with the shifting baseline syndrome (SBS). Facing SBS [...] Read more.
Having a reliable ecological reference baseline is pivotal to understanding the current status of benthic assemblages. Ecological awareness of our perception of environmental changes could be better described based on historical data. Otherwise, we meet with the shifting baseline syndrome (SBS). Facing SBS harmful consequences on environmental and cultural heritage, as well as on conservation strategies, requires combining historical data with contemporary biomonitoring. In the present “era of biodiversity”, we advocate for (1) the crucial role of taxonomy as a study of life diversity and (2) the robust, informative value of museum collections as memories of past ecosystem conditions. This scenario requires taxonomist skills to understand community composition and diversity, as well as to determine ecosystem change trends and rates. In this paper, we focus on six Mediterranean benthic habitats to track biological and structural changes that have occurred in the last few decades. We highlight the perception of biological changes when historical records make possible effective comparisons between past reference situations and current data. We conclude that the better we know the past, the more we understand present (and will understand future) ecosystem functioning. Achieving this goal is intrinsically linked to investing in training new taxonomists who are able to assure intergeneration connectivity to transmit cultural and environmental heritage, a key aspect to understanding and managing our changing ecosystems. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop