Effects of mucilage on the benthic crustacean in the North Aegean Sea

Effects of mucilage on the benthic crustacean in the North Aegean Sea

Herdem Aslan, Zeynep Tekeli, Özge Bacak

ORCID IDs: H.A. 0000-0002-0872-2919; Z.T. 0000-0002-3539-6805; Ö.B. 0000-0002-7453-2291

Department of Biology, Faculty of Arts and Science, Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Çanakkale, TURKEY


The mucilage (sea-snot) event during autumn 2020 in the Marmara Sea turned into a major disaster, carried by winds and currents passing the Çanakkale Strait (Dardanelles), Turkey, and extending to the North Aegean Sea, threatening tourism and fisheries. This study aims to compare the peracarid crustacean diversity in Gökçeada Island, the North Aegean Sea, in 2010/2012, before the mucilage disaster, and in 2021 after the disaster. Samples were collected using a 20 × 20 cm quadrat as three replicates from hard substrate at 0.5 m and at 5 m depth during the summer season at five stations. All samples were sorted through 0.5 mm sieves. Water quality were assesed in 2012 and 2021 for physico-chemical properties. As a result, the number of species and specimens, richness and diversity values of all stations (except Yıldız Koy) decreased dramatically in 2021. The species composition of Yıldız Koy station, located in the northern shore of the island, with no intense mucilage presence, was evaluated as a reliable indicator of organic matter increase. The study revealed that mucilage adversely affected the peracarid assemblages, important for the marine ecosystem in the southern shore of Gökçeada.

Keywords: Mucilage, sea-snot, North Aegean Sea, infralittoral zone, zoobenthos, Crustacea, biomonitoring

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