The Tavolara-Punta Coda Cavallo Marine Protected Area (North-eastern Sardinia, western Mediterranean Sea) includes, in a restricted area, substrates of different lithology (i.e., limestone and granitic). This creates a suitable condition to test the hypothesis that the taxonomic richness of the Mediterranean coralligenous communities could be also driven by the lithological characteristics of the substrate.

This study investigated these potential differences in terms of recurrences of the microbenthic sessile species, mainly macroalgae, sponges, anthozoans and bryozoans, of the coralligenous communities settled on the different substrates.

The results highlight significant differences among sites, characterized by carbonate and granitic substrates. In general, limestone proved to be more suitable for the development of a thick differentiated coralligenous basal layer and showed a marked heterogeneity.

According to these results the authors suggest that a number of mechanisms could be involved to explain the observed patterns, such as selective capacity of several sessile organisms, towards substrate, with ultimate repercussions on the structure of the whole coralligenous assemblage.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2352485519308655

Canessa et al. (2020) Coralligenous assemblages differ between limestone and granite: A case study at the Tavolara-Punta Coda Cavallo Marine Protected Area (NE Sardinia, Mediterranean Sea). Regional Studies in Marine Science 35:101159.