Skip to main content

Spatial patterns of biodiversity in the Black Sea: An assessment using benthic polychaetes

TitleSpatial patterns of biodiversity in the Black Sea: An assessment using benthic polychaetes
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsSurugiu, V, Revkov NK, Todorova V, Papageorgiou N, Valavanis V, Arvanitidis C
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Keywordsbiodiversity, biogeographical sectors, black sea, polychaetes, salinity gradients, taxonomic distinctness. zoogeocline

The current study broadens the biodiversity information available for the Black Sea and neighbouring regions and improves our knowledge about the polychaete biogeographic patterns to be discerned in them. There appears to be a well-defined zoogeocline from the Marmara Sea and Bosphorus Strait to the inner parts of the region (Azov Sea), depicted both as a multivariate pattern and in terms of species (or taxa) numbers. The emergent multivariate pattern complies, to a certain extent, with Jakubova’s (1935) views: three main sectors can be defined in the basin: (a) Prebosphoric, (b) the Black Sea and, (c) the Azov Sea, whereas the Bosphorus Strait and Marmara Sea show less faunal affinities with the afore-mentioned sectors. Patterns derived both from the cosmopolitan and Atlanto-Mediterranean species closely follow the one coming from the polychaete species and genera inventories. As a general trend, species numbers decrease along with the decrease in salinity towards the inner parts of the region. The trend is homologous to that seen in the benthic invertebrate inventories of all the major European semi-enclosed regional seas. Salinity and food availability appear to be the dominant abiotic factors correlated, though weakly, with the various patterns deriving from the taxonomic/zoogeographic categories. With the exception of the Anatolia, polychaete inventories from all sectors appear to be random samples of the total inventory of the region, in terms of taxonomic distinctness values. Therefore, these sectoral inventories can be used for future biodiversity/environmental impact assessment studies. A massive invasion of Mediterranean species after the opening of the Black Sea, in the lower Quaternary period, appears to be the likely biogeographic mechanism through which the old Sarmatic fauna was almost completely replaced by species of marine origin.