The Levantine Basin at the south-eastern corner of the Mediterranean represents the trailing edge of the distribution of native Atlanto-Mediterranean species, where they are exposed to the most extreme temperature and salinity conditions. The region is also fast warming and exposed to a flood of alien species, mostly thermophilic ones from the Indo-Pacific. The Levant coast also hosts a unique, fragile and understudied rocky intertidal ecosystem - vermetid reefs. Anecdotal historical data and observations, and recent extensive intertidal and shallow subtidal community surveys on the Israeli coast (including a marine reserve) indicate that Levant reefs are (1) overfished; (2) highly invaded by thermophilic alien species, some (rabbitfish) highly destructive; (3) dominated by turf barrens (canopy-forming brown algae are rare, probably overgrazed by rabbitfish) and increasing patches of alien algae and (4) suffering the loss of many native species (e.g., urchins subtidally and the main reef-building vermetid gastropod, Dendropoma petraeum, intertidally). Laboratory work has shown that many native species that are still abundant are likely to disappear under increasing warming, while aliens are much more resistant. Mesocosm experiments demonstrated that, under both warming and acidification, the community structure will further shift, and whole community functions will transform from autotrophic to heterotrophic.
|Title of host publication||Interactions in the Marine Benthos|
|Subtitle of host publication||Global Patterns and Processes|
|Publisher||Cambridge University Press|
|Number of pages||23|
|State||Published - 1 Jan 2019|
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© The Systematics Association 2019.
- Levantine Basin
- climate change
- ecosystem functions
- ocean warming
- rocky reefs
- vermetid reefs
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)