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  • 1 Shahid Beheshti University, G. C., Evin, Tehran, 1983969411, Iran
  • | 2 GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, 24105 Kiel, Germany
Open access

Abstract

Biofouling is predicted to increase in the course of global warming, making the study and monitoring of its ecological and economic consequences of great importance. The present study describes, for the first time, recruitment and successional patterns of fouling communities in the Caspian Sea. During one year, short-term panels (STP; replaced every 2 months) and long-term panels (LTP; retrieved after 4, 8 and 12 months) were deployed in the Western Iranian coast of the Caspian Sea. Temporal trends in both sets of panels were evaluated through Generalized Additive Models and discussed in light of the environmental variables registered in each sampling event. Recruitment and successional patterns observed at the community level were mainly driven by barnacles and bryozoans, the dominant taxa over the entire sampling period. Panel coverage, biomass and inorganic to organic matter ratio exhibited clear seasonal patterns in STP, following temperature and chlorophyll a trends. In LTP, coverage and biomass increased over the study period, while the inorganic to organic matter ratio peaked in summer and decreased during autumn and winter months. These results represent a baseline for future studies on biofouling communities in the Caspian Sea, where this topic has been completely neglected.

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