Benthic macrophyte communities of different substratum types (soft, hard) were studied in eleven differently impacted sites belonging in two different water typologies (transitional waters: Lesina Lagoon, Varna Lake; coastal waters: Varna Bay) and two ecoregions (Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea). Species lists were compiled for each study site, 20 taxa were found at Lesina and Varna Lake and Bay, and the abundance of each taxon was determined at each site. The relationship between nine metrics related to community structure [species richness, % of total coverage, dry biomass (g/m−2), and cluster and multi-dimensional scaling plot of Bray–Curtis similarity] and function [Ecological Status Group I % coverage, ESG II % coverage, Ecological Evaluation Index (EEI-c) and Ecological Index (EIEEI)] and key abiotic factors and an anthropogenic stress index (EnII) were studied. A strong relationship (Spearman rank correlation coefficient ρ ≤ −0.89; R 2 ≥ 0.89) between anthropogenic stress and functional indices, EEI-c and EIEEI, was found. The structural index ‘species richness’ correlated negatively with EnII and positively with salinity, demonstrating a freshwater and confinement influence on species diversity. EEI-c and EIEEI indices classified the studied sites and locations in different Ecological Status Classes in accordance with the anthropogenic stress gradient.
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This paper is a result of the project WISER (Water bodies in Europe: Integrative Systems to assess Ecological status and Recovery) funded by the European Union under the 7th Framework Programme, Theme 6 (Environment including Climate Change) (Contract No. 226273), http://www.wiser.eu. The Greek team is also very grateful to the TOTAL Foundation (Paris; Project ‘Brown algal biodiversity and ecology in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea’) for additional support. We are very grateful to Dr. Claire Gachon for her contribution in the tentative identification of Oedogonium sp.
Handling editor: Pierluigi Viaroli
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Orfanidis, S., Dencheva, K., Nakou, K. et al. Benthic macrophyte metrics as bioindicators of water quality: towards overcoming typological boundaries and methodological tradition in Mediterranean and Black Seas. Hydrobiologia 740, 61–78 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-014-1938-x
- Functional groups
- Water quality
- Biotic indices
- Alternative stable stages