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Marine cave biota of the Tarkhankut Peninsula (Black Sea, Crimea), with emphasis on sponge taxonomic composition, spatial distribution and ecological particularities

  • Alexander V. Ereskovsky (a1) (a2), Oleg A. Kovtun (a3) and Konstantin K. Pronin (a4)

The main objectives of this study are the establishment of a detailed description of five semi-submerged and shallow-water marine caves from the Tarkhankut Peninsula (Crimea), their biological characteristics with particular attention to species composition, and the distribution of sponge assemblages in these caves. Three semi-submerged and two submerged caves with lengths of 9–131 m and volumes of 61–3060 m3 have been investigated. All of them are karst-abrasive or karst in origin. In the investigated caves, we inventoried seven sponge species. All were recorded species of Porifera belong to the class Demospongiae and have previously been recorded also in adjacent open sea waters. These species are tolerant to different hydrological conditions, mostly temperature and salinity. Some of them have wide geographic distribution. The species composition of sponges from the shallow water caves of Crimea is quite different from the sponge composition in Mediterranean caves. This could be due to the geographic isolation of the Black Sea and the differences in the hydro-chemical parameters of the milieu (water salinity in Tarkhankut is 18–21‰).

Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to:A.V. Ereskovsky, Mediterranean Institute of Marine and Terrestrial Biodiversity and Ecology (IMBE), Aix Marseille University, CNRS, IRD, Station marine d'Endoume, rue de la Batterie des Lions, 13007 Marseille, France email:
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