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The role of polychaetes in bioerosion of submerged mosaic floors in the Underwater Archaeological Park of Baiae (Naples, Italy)

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The study investigated the role of boring polychaetes in the bioerosion of a submerged Roman mosaic floor in the Underwater Archaeological Park of Baiae (Naples, Italy). Three boring species, Dodecaceria concharum, Polydora ciliata, and Pseudopolydora antennata, were found. The initial colonization phases of boring polychaetes were investigated on experimental limestone panels placed underwater in the same marine area. The results showed that the ecological succession was characterized by a first stage of colonization with abundant spionids and a second stage with a boring mature community dominated by D. concharum. The study of silicone casts of the bored traces allowed confirmation that the ichnospecies belonging to the ichnogeneraMaeandropolydora could be attributed to the action of spionid worms, whereas D. concharum is able to produce tongue- and ribbon-shaped borings (ichnogenus Caulostrepsis), and variously contorted galleries (ichnogenus Maeandropolydora) by settling inside borings produced by other polychaetes and increasing the complexity of the gallery system by modifying them. The study of the epilithic polychaete community highlighted that the site is characterized by a low hydrodynamism. Therefore, the most suitable in situ preservation interventions would be the covering of the mosaics with sand layers or geotextiles.

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We are grateful to Dr. Barbara Davidde Petriaggi, ISCR Director of the Underwater Archaeological Operation Unit and of the Department of Archaeology (NIAS—Nucleo per gli Interventi di Archaeologia Subacquea), for supporting our research. We thank architect Filomena Lucci, Dr. Marco Ciabattoni (ISCR) and Mr. Gian Franco Priori (ISCR) for diving assistance and underwater photographic documentation. We would like to thank the reviewers and Max Wisshak, Guest Editor of Facies Special Issue Bioerosion: an interdisciplinary approach, for their precious comments and suggestions. We would also like to thank Miss Anna Rodgers for her careful review of the English form.

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Correspondence to Federica Antonelli.

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This article is part of a Topical Collection in Facies on Bioerosion: An interdisciplinary approach, guest edited by Ricci, Uchman, and Wisshak.

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Gravina, M.F., Antonelli, F., Sacco Perasso, C. et al. The role of polychaetes in bioerosion of submerged mosaic floors in the Underwater Archaeological Park of Baiae (Naples, Italy). Facies 65, 19 (2019).

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  • Underwater Cultural Heritage
  • Caulostrepsis
  • Maeandropolydora
  • Dodecaceria
  • Polydora
  • Pseudopolydora