Assessing the effect of Amphistegina lobifera invasion on infralittoral benthic foraminiferal assemblages in the Sicily Channel (Central Mediterranean)

Mar Environ Res. 2023 Nov:192:106247. doi: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2023.106247. Epub 2023 Nov 2.


This article documents, through a quantitative approach, the negative effect of the highly invasive species Amphistegina lobifera Larsen, 1976 on native benthic foraminiferal assemblages of coastal areas in the Sicily Channel (Central Mediterranean). A nested sampling design was applied through the comparison of benthic foraminiferal community structure across three areas that are known to be at different stages of invasion (i.e. Maltese Islands - advanced, southern Sicily - medium, and eastern Sicily - early). Results suggested that both diversity and richness of benthic foraminiferal community from the Maltese Islands were strongly modified by increased abundances of A. lobifera. In contrast, this phenomenon is less evident in southern and eastern Sicily, where the invader displayed lower abundances and the community structure was more diversified. Collected data also allowed for predicting what could happen in the near future in the whole Sicily Channel, as well as in the rest of the Mediterranean Sea.

Keywords: Amphistegina lobifera; Benthic foraminifera; Biodiversity loss; Biopollution; Central Mediterranean Sea; Non-indigenous species.

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Foraminifera* / chemistry
  • Geologic Sediments / chemistry
  • Introduced Species
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Sicily