The importance of Posidonia oceanica meadows to the distribution of Pinna nobilis through habitat suitability modelling.
Benjamin Tatton, Sarah Meek, Clara Gütte, Anastasia Miliou, Dr Stephanie Sargeant, Dr Mark Steer
Pinna nobilis is endemic to the Mediterranean and the region’s largest marine bivalve whose endangered status has been linked to habitat loss. In particular P. oceanica meadows play a key role in modifying the landscape to create habitats for many associated species including Pinna nobilis. Snorkel surveys assessed population numbers within the first 0.5 m – 5 m depth of eleven sites around the Greek island of Lipsi in the Eastern Aegean, Greece. Habitat Suitability Modelling was used to predict location using Posidonia oceanica meadows and bathymetric data as predictors. Results indicated a significant association between P. oceanica and P. nobilis within the first 0.5 m – 5 m. This study fills a gap in knowledge of P. nobilis distribution and is of particular relevance after the mass mortality event now linked to the Haplosporidium pinnae sp. nov., parasite.
Keywords: Marine conservation, Greece, mollusc, MaxEnt.