Long-term change in the structure of a Posidonia oceanica landscape and its reference for a monitoring plan


Giandomenico Ardizzone, Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e dell'Uomo, Università di Roma ‘‘La Sapienza’’, Viale dell'Università, 32 - 00185 Roma, Italy.
E-mail: giandomenico.ardizzone@uniroma1.it


Abstract On the basis of a detailed cartographic survey carried out by Side Scan Sonar and a towed underwater video camera during 2005, and from a series of historical maps (1959, 1980, 1990), an extensive regression of Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile beds was evidenced for a vast area of the central Tyrrhenian Sea (Latium coast, Italy). The total loss of P. oceanica surface was assessed through GIS estimate. In 1959, the Posidonia beds extended over 7290 ha, while in the 2005 survey they had regressed to 2899 ha, a loss of about 60% of their coverage. Also the seagrass lower limit showed a general depth decrease in time. Total seagrass coverage loss and lower limit regression were not uniform along the whole investigated areas and three main sub-areas have been identified with different degrees of regression somehow related with coastal potential human-mediated impacts. From different coverage estimates of the present survey and of the previous maps, minimum sampling areas were calculated through bootstrapping simulation routines from small sampling areas (Landscape Units) to reach the nearest estimate of the observed condition in the different periods.