These authors contributed equally to this work.
Hydroid assemblages across the Atlantic–Mediterranean boundary: is the Strait of Gibraltar a marine ecotone?
Article first published online: 17 FEB 2013
© 2013 Blackwell Verlag GmbH
Special Issue: Current Trends in Hydrozoan Biology - VI. Guest Editors: S. Piraino, C.W. Cunningham, F. Boero. CONISMA (Italian National Inter University Consortium for Marine Sciences) and Wiley have published this supplement without financial support.
Volume 34, Issue Supplement s1, pages 33–40, February 2013
How to Cite
González-Duarte, M. M., Megina, C., Piraino, S. and Cervera, J. L. (2013), Hydroid assemblages across the Atlantic–Mediterranean boundary: is the Strait of Gibraltar a marine ecotone?. Marine Ecology, 34: 33–40. doi: 10.1111/maec.12022
- Issue published online: 17 FEB 2013
- Article first published online: 17 FEB 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 2 OCT 2012
- Consejería de Innovación, Ciencia y Empresa de la Junta de Andalucía
- Ministry of Education and Science. Grant Number: PCI2005-A7-0347
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. Grant Numbers: A/5481/06, A/8688/07
- Ministero dell'Università e della Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologica
- Ministry of Environment and Protection of Land and Sea
- Atlantic–Mediterranean transition;
- benthic hydroid assemblages;
- rocky coastal ecosystem;
- Strait of Gibraltar
Strong gradients in physico-chemical properties between abutting water masses create prominent transition zones in the marine environment. The Strait of Gibraltar forms the well defined boundary between the Mediterranean and Atlantic, and this paper examines spatial variation of hydroid assemblages in this transition zone. Although several studies highlighted the transitional character of the Strait and defined it as an ecotone, the benthic hydroid assemblages did not show differences between the Gulf of Cádiz and the Alboran Sea. However, there is an asymmetrical influence of the Atlantic waters on the coastal benthic ecosystems of the Alboran Sea, which maintains a more Mediterranean character in the hydroid assemblages of the northern coast, whereas a more Atlantic character was found in the rest of the studied sites. The transition zone between Atlantic and Mediterranean benthic communities could be associated with an Atlantic Influence Zone rather than with the Strait of Gibraltar itself.