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International Journal of Ecology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 101682, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/101682
Research Article

Plankton Resting Stages in the Marine Sediments of the Bay of Vlorë (Albania)

1Laboratory of Plankton Ecology, IAMC CNR, UOS Talassografico “A. Cerruti,” 74123 Taranto, Italy
2Laboratory of Zoogeography and Fauna, CoNISMa U.O. Lecce, DiSTeBA University of the Salento, 73100 Lecce, Italy

Received 13 December 2012; Accepted 1 April 2013

Academic Editor: Sami Souissi

Copyright © 2013 Fernando Rubino et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

In the frame of the INTERREG III CISM project, sediment cores were collected at 2 stations in the Gulf of Vlorë to study the plankton resting stage assemblages. A total of 87 morphotypes were identified and produced by Dinophyta, Ciliophora, Rotifera, and Crustacea. In 22 cases, the cyst belonged to a species absent from the plankton of the same period. The most abundant resting stages were those produced by Scrippsiella species (Dinophyta). Some calcareous cysts were identified as fossil species associated with Pleistocene to Pliocene sediment, although they were also found in surface sediments and some of them successfully germinated, thus proving their modern status. Total abundance generally decreased with sediment depth at station 40, while station 45 showed distinct maxima at 3 and 8 cm below the sediment surface. The depth of peak abundance in the sediment varied with species. This paper presents the first study of the plankton resting stages in the Bay of Vlorë. The study confirmed the utility of this type of investigation for a more correct evaluation of species diversity. In addition, the varying distribution with sediment depth suggests that this field could be of some importance in determining the history of species assemblages.