Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 329–347 | Cite as

Biological patterns and ecological indicators for Mediterranean fish and crustaceans below 1,000 m: a review

Article

Abstract

The Mediterranean Sea is a relatively deep, closed sea with high rates of fisheries exploitation. In recent years fishing activity has tended to shift towards deeper depths. At the same time, the Mediterranean displays some rather special hydrographic and biogeographic conditions. The present paper reviews the present state of knowledge of the fisheries, biology, and ecology of the deep-sea fish and crustacean species in the Mediterranean dwelling below 1,000 m with potential economic interest, placing special emphasis on the western basin, for which more data are available, as a basis for future studies of the ecology, biodiversity, and effects of climate change and exploitation in this zone. This review reveals that mediterranean deep-sea fishes and crustaceans employ highly conservative ecological strategies, and hence the low fecundity and low metabolic rates in a stable environment like the deep-sea make these populations highly vulnerable. Moreover, ripe females of the main species mentioned here concentrate in the deepest portions of their distribution ranges. Deep-sea fish and crustaceans have high trophic levels and low to medium omnivory index values. The ecological indices discussed here, in combination with the limited knowledge of deep-sea ecosystems, clearly call for an approach based on the Precautionary Principle.

Keywords

Biological patterns Mediterranean Deep-sea Biodiversity Fishes Crustaceans Ecological indicators Trophic level Precautionary Principle 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the Captains and crews of R/V “García del Cid” (CSIC) for their technical support, and Mr. J. Rucabado and Dr. D. Lloris as the pioneers in using the otter bottom trawl as a sampling scientific method in the Mediterranean deep-sea. M. Coll has been founded by a postdoctoral fellowship from the Ministerio de Ciencias e Innovación from Spain.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Sardà
    • 1
  • J. B. Company
    • 1
  • G. Rotllant
    • 2
  • M. Coll
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC)BarcelonaSpain
  2. 2. Institut de Recerca i Tecnologies Agroalimentaries (IRTA)Sant Carles de la Ràpita, TarragonaSpain
  3. 3.Department of BiologyHalifaxCanada

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