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Effects of the installation of offshore pipelines on macrozoobenthic communities (northern and central Adriatic Sea)

Spagnolo, A., Cuicchi, C., De Biasi, A.M., Ferrà, C., Montagnini, L., Punzo, E., Salvalaggio, V., Santelli, A., Strafella, P., Fabi, G.
Marine pollution bulletin 2019 v.138 pp. 534-544
coasts, habitats, pipelines, sand, silt, silty clay soils, water pollution, Adriatic Sea
Macrozoobenthos living around several pipelines placed at different depths and sediment types in the Western Adriatic Sea was investigated for three years after structures' deployment to detect possible effects due to their installation and presence. Three environmental habitats were considered based on the grain size (silty clay, clayey silt and sand). Samplings were taken within a radius of 100 m from the pipelines and at control sites. Multivariate and univariate analysis showed peculiarities of the three habitats due to the different sediment type, without differences between pipelines and controls inside each group. Silty clay and clayey silt communities appeared quite similar, being mainly represented by opportunistic species typical of the Adriatic coastal area. Benthic populations found at the offshore relict sand were characterized by a higher percentage of sensitive species. Independently of sediment typology, pipelines' installation seems to not affect the benthic populations that appear more influenced by environmental features.