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Spatial distribution of Decapoda in the Strait of Sicily (Central Mediterranean Sea) based on a trawl survey

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image of Crustaceana

The spatial representation of decapod crustaceans (Crustacea, Malacostraca) of the Strait of Sicily (Central Mediterranean Sea) is presented for the first time, together with comments on their vertical and horizontal distributions. The most relevant trawlable species were analysed using quantitative data gathered in 260 daylight lasting hauls, which covered a large portion (about 100 000 km2) of the investigated area. The index of local abundance, standardized to 1 km2, both in weight (Biomass Index), number (Density Index) and mean body weight were obtained for each species and for all species combined. A spatial representation of the Density Index was produced for all decapod crustaceans combined and for the most frequent species. In particular, the indices were transferred under a GIS system and spatial maps produced by applying the program ArcView™ 9.0. Different interpolators were tested and the most exact interpolator (IDW Inverse Distance Weighting) was chosen. Both historical (i.e., doubts about the presence or identification of the species) and spatial (i.e., differential distribution among different fishing areas) heterogeneity were detected and commented upon. Concerning the trawlable bottoms, very few species (such as Parapenaeus longirostris (Lucas, 1846), Aristaeomorpha foliacea (Risso, 1827), Aristeus antennatus (Risso, 1816), Nephrops norvegicus (Linnaeus, 1758) and Plesionika martia (A. Milne-Edwards, 1883)) are consistently and largely represented in the catches. A high spatial heterogeneity, likely reflecting the complex interaction between fishing pattern, hydrological features and bottom typology, was made evident.

Affiliations: 1: 1Department of Animal Biology and Marine Ecology, University of Messina, Viale F. Stagno d’Alcontres 31, I-98166 Messina, Italy; 2: 2Institute for Coastal Marine Environment (IAMC) National Research Council (CNR), Via L. Vaccara 61, I-91026 Mazara del Vallo (TP), Italy


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