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Free Content Ecology of Syllidae (Annelida: Polychaeta) from northern Cyprus (eastern Mediterranean Sea)

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The composition and abundance of the syllid species collected from the northern coast of Cyprus and their ecological properties were determined by using univariate and multivariate analyses. The Cypriot syllid collection was composed of 85 species, one subspecies and 2244 individuals, derived from a total of 77 benthic samples taken in May 1997 and July 1998. The shallow-water benthic biotopes such as bare rocks, algae, and Posidonia oceanica harbored the majority of syllid species, and species diversity and abundance were negatively correlated with depth. Posidonia oceanica meadows seemed to have highest species diversity and bare, sandy bottoms were characterized by a low number of species, but a high abundance of some species. Dominant species varied with substratum and depth, but overall the most dominant and frequent species in the area were Syllis garciai (Campoy, 1982) and Syllis gerlachi (Hartmann-Schröder, 1960). One of the species that is new to the Mediterranean, Eusyllis kupfferi Langerhans, 1879, which was previously reported from the Atlantic Ocean, was encountered in relatively high abundance, suggesting that it might be newly introduced here. Sphaerosyllis longipapillata Hartmann-Schröder, 1979, which is known only from Australia, might be a new Lessepsian migrant. Comparison of the species richness of Syllidae in the P. oceanica communities identified in the present study with those previously reported from other parts of the Mediterranean revealed a high similarity among sites and showed that the claimed depauperation of zoobenthos in the Levant Sea most likely is derived from a lack of precise and detailed benthic studies.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-05-01

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