Casu, Daniela and Ceccherelli, Giulia and Castelli, Alberto (2006) Immediate effects of experimental human trampling on mid-upper intertidal benthic invertebrates at the Asinara Island MPA (NW Mediterranean). Hydrobiologia, Vol. 555 (1), p. 271-279. eISSN 1573-5117. Article.
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To assess potential risks of human visitation to ecological communities, the immediate effects of human trampling were investigated experimentally on small invertebrates inhabiting mid-upper intertidal hard bottoms covered by algae. Two different experimental intensities of trampling (60 and 120 footsteps) and controls (with no trampling) were applied to quadrats 20×20 cm in size (experimental area), within the two ‘no-entry, no-take’ zones of the Asinara Island MPA (Italy, Mediterranean Sea). One day after trampling ended, samples of benthic fauna were collected and the animals attributed to macrofaunal and meiofaunal components. Analyses of variance on the nine most common taxa of macrofauna identified significant higher abundance of bivalves, gammarid amphipods, polychaetes, isopods, oligochaetes in controls than in trampled plots. For nematodes, polychaetes, ostracods, oligochaetes, bivalves, acari, caprellid amphipods and tanaids a significant higher abundance of meiofaunal animals was found in controls than in trampled areas. Although no information on recovery is available, these results suggest that macrofaunal and meiofaunal taxa are vulnerable to this type of disturbance.
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