*Effect of multiple sources of disturbance on rocky benthic assemblages in some localities of Salento, Apulia.*[Laurea magistrale], Università di Bologna, Corso di Studio in Biologia marina [LM-DM270] - Ravenna, Documento ad accesso riservato.

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## Abstract

The first part of my work consisted in samplings conduced in nine different localities of the salento peninsula and Apulia (Italy): Costa Merlata (BR), Punta Penne (BR), Santa Cesarea terme (LE), Santa Caterina (LE), Torre Inserraglio (LE), Torre Guaceto (BR), Porto Cesareo (LE), Otranto (LE), Isole Tremiti (FG). I collected data of species percentage covering from the infralittoral rocky zone, using squares of 50x50 cm. We considered 3 sites for location and 10 replicates for each site, which has been taken randomly. Then I took other data about the same places, collected in some years, and I combined them together, to do a spatial analysis. So I started from a data set of 1896 samples but I decided not to consider time as a factor because I have reason to think that in this period of time anthropogenic stressors and their effects (if present), didn’t change considerably. The response variable I’ve analysed is the covering percentage of an amount of 243 species (subsequently merged into 32 functional groups), including seaweeds, invertebrates, sediment and rock. 2 After the sampling, I have been spent a period of two months at the Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University, in Monterey (California,USA), at Fiorenza Micheli's laboratory. I've been carried out statistical analysis on my data set, using the software PRIMER 6. My explorative analysis starts with a nMDS in PRIMER 6, considering the original data matrix without, for the moment, the effect of stressors. What comes out is a good separation between localities and it confirms the result of ANOSIM analysis conduced on the original data matrix. What is possible to ensure is that there is not a separation led by a geographic pattern, but there should be something else that leads the differences. Is clear the presence of at least three groups: one composed by Porto cesareo, Torre Guaceto and Isole tremiti (the only marine protected areas considered in this work); another one by Otranto, and the last one by the rest of little, impacted localities. Inside the localities that include MPA(Marine Protected Areas), is also possible to observe a sort of grouping between protected and controlled areas. What comes out from SIMPER analysis is that the most of the species involved in leading differences between populations are not rare species, like: Cystoseira spp., Mytilus sp. and ECR. Moreover I assigned discrete values (0,1,2) of each stressor to all the sites I considered, in relation to the intensity with which the anthropogenic factor affect the localities. 3 Then I tried to estabilish if there were some significant interactions between stressors: by using Spearman rank correlation and Spearman tables of significance, and taking into account 17 grades of freedom, the outcome shows some significant stressors interactions. Then I built a nMDS considering the stressors as response variable. The result was positive: localities are well separeted by stressors. Consequently I related the matrix with 'localities and species' with the 'localities and stressors' one. Stressors combination explains with a good significance level the variability inside my populations. I tried with all the possible data transformations (none, square root, fourth root, log (X+1), P/A), but the fourth root seemed to be the best one, with the highest level of significativity, meaning that also rare species can influence the result. The challenge will be to characterize better which kind of stressors (including also natural ones), act on the ecosystem; and give them a quantitative and more accurate values, trying to understand how they interact (in an additive or non-additive way).