Episodes of mass mortalities and disease outbreaks affecting corals and other benthic sessile suspension feeders (BSF) are recorded with an increasing frequency all over the world including in the Mediterranean Sea.

This paper reports on a massive die-off of benthic suspension feeders covered by large amounts of sediments along Prince Islands coasts (NE Sea of Marmara) in August 2015. The mortality is reported to have been likely caused primarily by heavy sedimentation.

The authors state that many BSF probably died from burial and clogging of their feeding and respiratory apparatus. However, histopathological and microbial examinations suggest that stress caused by sedimentation made them vulnerable to opportunistic micro-organisms.

It is stated that construction and landfill operations at Yassiada seem to be the greatest contributor to the observed sedimentation, as shown by silicate concentrations in nearby waters.  

The authors conclude that these observations imply that preventive measures are necessary when construction operations take place in the vicinity of sensitive marine habitats.


Topçu et al. (2018) Impact of excessive sedimentation caused by anthropogenic activities on benthic suspension feeders in the Sea of Marmara. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.