Assessment of Fish Biodiversity in P. oceanica seagrass meadows in Lipsi island
Posidonia oceanica is an endemic seagrass species of the Mediterranean Sea. Research in other areas of the Mediterranean Sea has shown that P. oceanica meadows provide habitats for a diverse fish community and they have an especially important role as breeding and nursing areas. Variety of fish species, including numerous species of conservational or commercial value, habitat seagrass meadows in their early life stages, and also adult individuals find shelter and nutrition in seagrass meadows. Seagrass meadows and the species within them have an important role in fish economics of the Mediterranean Sea. However, fish communities of P. oceanica meadows in the eastern Aegean Sea have remained undocumented so far.
Fish community composition of six bays with seagrass meadows is assessed by Archipelagos marine conservation team in Lipsi island. Species composition is assessed by non-damaging underwater visual census (UVC) method. Three transects representing the depth zone of 0-5 m are observed by two surveyors in each sampling site. Each fish individual is identified to species level and classified into 5 cm size categories. The total abundance and biodiversity of the species encountered is assessed.
Fish communities sustained by seagrass meadows are an important source of food and livelihood for local communities. Maintaining and protecting diverse fish communities supports local economics and the overall biodiversity of the Aegean Sea. Assessing and reporting the biodiversity of fish communities in seagrass meadows is an essential tool for coordinating conservation operations and meeting the conservation goals of Archipelagos in the Eastern Aegean Sea.
Salla Taskinen, University of Jyväskylä, Finland