MACROZOOBENTHIC COMMUNITIES ON THREE DIFFERENT ECOLOGICAL STATUSES OF THE HABITATS IN THE CILICIAN SHELF SOFT-BOTTOMS
In 2005-2007, zoobenthic samples were seasonally collected on the Cilician shelf with a van Veen grab. The aim was to study the biodiversity of vegetated and unvegetated soft-bottom habitats under pristine (ultraoligotrophic) and anthropogenically modified conditions. Faunistic characteristics, zoobenthic assemblages and their relationship with environmental variables were determined. Zoobenthic assemblages along shelf gradients occurred with habitat types and ecological status and then, bottom depths and depth-related sediment grain structure and content. Density of macrozoobenthic communities in Posidonia beds, eutrophic areas and sedimentary bottoms were positively correlated with salinity, density, dissolved oxygen content of sea surface and near bottom waters, and negatively correlated with sedimentary variables such as TOC content, and sea surface temperature. Syllis garciai was dominant and abundant and the key species in Posidonia beds. The key species of pristine and eutrophic soft-bottom types differed; they were Onchnesoma steenstrupi, Nephtys incise, and Monticellina heterochaeta and Nephtys hombergii, Macrophthalmus indicus, and Amphipholis squamata, respectively. For soft-bottom macrozoobenthic assemblages in eutrophic areas the Canonical Corresponance Analyses (CCA) showed impacts related to nutrient (P-PO4, N-NO2 + N-NO3 and Si) enrichment and dependence on Chl level in the water column.