A review on the biodiversity of hard substrate invertebrate communities in the Aegean Sea
This review attempts to estimate the biodiversity of the macrobenthic communities that develop on hard bottoms in the Aegean Sea. Literature analysis revealed that 1,171 species inhabit the hard substrate communities, constituting 20.9% of the total Mediterranean species. The hierarchical cluster analysis of the available data identified five major types: (1) the supralittoral communities, (2) the midlittoral communities, (3) the port communities, (4) the various facies of the photophilic algae community, and (5) the facies of the sciaphilic algae community. Thus, hard bottom communities in the Aegean seem to be separated mainly according to vertical zonation. A total of 68 hard-bottom species are under multiple exploitation, providing considerable economic profit. Taking into account the structural complexity of hard substrate benthic communities and their sensitivity to disturbances, it is essential to preserve the biodiversity of these biotopes.