Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Biodiversity and structure of rocky reef fish assemblages in the Sierra Helada Natural Park (South-western Mediterranean Sea)

P. Arechavala-López, J. T. Bayle-Sempere, P. Sánchez-Jerez, C. Valle, A. Forcada, D. Fernández-Jover, C. Ojeda-Martínez, M. Vázquez-Luis, B. Luna-Pérez


In the present study the fish assemblages in the rocky-bottom habitat of the Sierra Helada Natural Park (Alicante, Spain) were recorded to provide data for future evaluation of any changes induced by long-term management. Visual censuses were carried out along strip transects by Scuba diving on rocky bottoms at depths between 1 and 32 m. In the seven localities sampled, 44 species were recorded. Number of species, abundance, biomass and size structure values recorded did not show differences between high and low protection areas. Species composition was similar to other marine protected areas of the western-Mediterranean. The main differences found between localities can be attributed to the high heterogeneity and complexity of the habitat at smaller spatial scales.

Key words: Fish assemblages, Rocky bottom, Biodiversity, Distribution, Visual census, Mediterranean sea.

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