Marine biodiversity is generally higher in benthic than in pelagic systems, and in coastal than in open sea systems. Sediments are the most human-impacted domain and therefore represent the target zone for both the study and actions needed for the preservation of biodiversity. Losses of marine diversity, higher (or simply more evident) in coastal areas, are generally the result of conflicting uses of coastal habitats. Large difficulties arise from the analysis and evaluation of the actual biodiversity, especially when different environments are compared, as often studies on biodiversity are dependent upon the distribution of the specialists. On the other hand, losses of marine biodiversity might be underestimated, due to the limited knowledge of the ecosystems' functioning, of the species inhabiting various habitats and of the still limited capacity to assess microbial biodiversity, which represents the largest fraction of the global marine biodiversity. Finally, claimed losses of biodiversity might be just apparent, as the sea floor is a bank of resting stages of various plankton species that are likely to spend even decades in the sediment before reactivating and inducing unattended blooms in the water column. The Mediterranean Sea displays high species diversity, but might reach the highest values in terms of adaptive strategies and functional diversity. Moreover, the Mediterranean Sea represents also a key area for the study of the relative influences of the natural and anthropogenic changes on biodiversity and its consequences on ecosystem functioning. Habitat destruction, over-fishing, contaminants, eutrophication, introduction of alien species, and climate changes are producing increasingly evident changes in community structure and biodiversity of this warm and miniature ocean. We summarized the main effects of different disruptive agents on the marine biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea, with special attention on the biodiversity relevance in ecosystem functioning and possible implications in bio-geochemical cycles. The present overview aims at focusing and synthesizing the most important factors potentially affecting the interactions between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in the Mediterranean in order to better define possible strategies of conservation and eco-management.
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|Titolo:||Ecomanagement of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in the Mediterranean Sea: concerns and strategies|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2007|
|Tipologia:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|