- 1.A review of floristic studies on the Galician maërl community (north-west Spain) and updated information on the distribution of maërl beds, their associated flora and long-term changes is presented.
- 2.The Galician maërl community has been poorly studied; most of the previous studies were of short duration and focused on isolated beds. Studies on the associated maërl flora and overall Galician maërl bed distribution are required to put these in context with other Atlantic and Mediterranean European areas.
- 3.A literature review of all Galician studies produced a list of 198 maërl associated species (204 infraspecific taxa including life history stages) recorded from a total of 111 maërl beds. The current survey (2003–2006) increased the Galician maërl epiflora records to 226 species (232 intraspecific taxa including life history stages: 9 Cyanophyta, 160 Rhodophyta, 36 Heterokontophyta and 27 Chlorophyta), highlighting the occurrence of 10 non-native species. The current Galician catalogue is compared with maërl studies from different Atlantic and Mediterranean regions.
- 4.In order to assess the long-term changes in Galician maërl beds and their conservation status, 60 maërl beds which have been previously studied by various different workers were resampled to compare their current distribution, area and cover with historical data from the literature.
- 5.A reduction in the study area of maërl beds and their cover was detected. Most of the lost maërl areas were within or in the vicinity of myticulture areas where burial of maërl by fine sediment has a deleterious effect.
Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.