Exploring relationships between the distribution of giant red shrimp Aristaeomorpha foliacea (Risso, 1827) and environmental factors in the Central-Western Mediterranean Sea
Relationships between distribution of giant red shrimp and environmental factors
Mediterranean giant red shrimp Aristaeomorpha foliacea (Risso, 1827) is one of the dominant species in deep-sea megafaunal assemblages, plays a key role in deep-sea communities and it is considered one of the most important targets of deep-water trawl fishing. Although a large number of studies have analysed the spatial distribution of epibenthic crustaceans in bathyal habitats with respect to environmental, geomorphological and hydrological factors, as well as fishing pressure, the manner in which these variables synergistically affect the spatio-temporal changes of giant red shrimp is unclear. To analyse the possible effects of abiotic predictors on the spatio-temporal distribution of giant red shrimp, Generalized Additived Models (GAMs) and Regression Trees were produced. Biological data were collected during the MEDITS trawl surveys carried out in the Sea of Sardinia (2009-2014), during which environmental data were obtained with a multiparametric probe. A longitudinal (west-east) trend was found, with higher abundances at depths of 400-600 m, corresponding to salinity values of 38.1-38.5 psu and temperatures of 13.6-13.8°C. Our results confirm the existence of a tight linkage between the distribution of the Levantine Intermediate Water (LIW) from the eastern Mediterranean Sea and the preferential habitat characteristics of the giant red shrimp. We suggest that a deeper knowledge of the relationships between abiotic (hydrological) factors in the water column and the distribution of Mediterranean resources, such as the giant red shrimp, can provide valuable support for their better management, at the local scale (Sardinia) and across the whole Mediterranean Sea.
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