2014, pp 435-447

Bioconstructions in the Mediterranean: Present and Future

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Abstract

In the Mediterranean Sea, most important habitat formers are bioconstructors. Bioconstructors provide habitats for a large variety of organisms and these organisms rely on bioconstructors as a source of food and shelter. Marine bioconstructors in temperate seas have been recognized to have a structural and functional role of marine biodiversity (as a habitat formers and ecosystem engineers), the same as coral reefs in tropical regions. Bioconstructors are ranging from coralligenous formations (formed usually by coralline algae, sponges, cnidarians, and bryozoans) to vermetid reefs, deep-sea white corals and oyster banks. Some habitats like coral banks formed by shallow-water coral Cladocora caespitosa od deep-water coral Lophelia pertusa, together with coralligenous buildups and maerl beds are of special interest for scientists and people involving with nature protection. Habitat degradation, destruction, fragmentation and loss are the most dramatic consequences of anthropogenic pressures on natural ecosystems and marine bioconstructors as a part of that. Under the present climate warming trend, together with marine acidification, new mass mortality events may occur in the near future, possibly driving a major biodiversity crisis in the Mediterranean Sea, especially in Mediterranean bioconstructors.