During nearly every summer of the last 15 years, massive mucilage aggregations have formed in the water column of the northern Adriatic. The phenomenon also occurred during the summer of 2004, lasting approximately from the middle of June to the end of July. After approximately 20 days of mucilage impact (coverage of the rocky bottom from 40% to 90%), the effects on selected macrobenthic species were assessed at depths of 5-7 m. The responses to the mucilage impact were species dependent. Smothering by mucilage caused partial necrosis of the sponge Verongia aerophoba: from 7% to 56% of the colony surface was deteriorated. In contrast, the impact was lethal for the mollusc Arca noae: from 5% to 45% of the molluscs died. Usually, no deleterious effects were ascertained on perennial parts of the thalli (axes) of macroalgae of the genus Cystoseira. However, primary branches showed signs of necrosis, and Cystoseira compressa was more sensitive compared to Cystoseira corniculata and Cystoseira barbata. Apparently, this does not profoundly affect Cystoseira populations, which have been in a phase of expansion along the shallow Istrian rocky coast over the last 15 years. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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