Istituto di Scienze Marine     
Giani M., Djakovac T., Degobbis D., Cozzi S., Solidoro C., Fonda Umani S. Recent changes in the marine ecosystems of the northern Adriatic Sea. In: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, vol. 115 pp. 1 - 13. Fluctuations and trends in the northern Adriatic marine systems: from annual to decadal variability. Michele Giani, Danilo Degobbis, Marina Cabrini and Serena Fonda Umani (eds.). Elsevier, 2012.
This review of studies on long term series on river discharges, oceanographic features, plankton, fish and benthic compartments, collected since the 1970s revealed significant changes of mechanisms and trophic structures in the northern Adriatic ecosystems. A gradual increase of eutrophication pressure occurred during the 1970s until the mid 1980s, followed by a reversal of the trend, particularly marked in the 2000s. This trend was ascribed to the combination of a reduction of the anthropogenic impact, mainly due to a substantial decrease of the phosphorus loads, and of climatic modifications, resulting in a decline of atmospheric precipitations and, consequently, of the runoff in the northern Adriatic Sea. Significant decreases of the phytoplankton abundances were observed after the mid 1980s, concurrently with changes in the species composition of the communities, with an evident shift toward smaller cells or organism sizes. Moreover, changes in the zooplankton community were also observed. A decrease of demersal fishes, top predators and small pelagic fishes was ascribed to both overfishing and a demise of eutrophication. Macrozoobenthic communities slowly recovered in the last two decades after the anoxia events of the 1970s and 1980s. An increasing number of non-autochthonous species has been recorded in the last decades moreover the increasing seawater temperature facilitated the spreading of thermophilic species.
URL: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecss
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2012.08.023
Subject Northern Adriatic Sea
environmental changes

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