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Decline of unique Pontocaspian biodiversity in the Black Sea Basin: a review
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  • Aleksandre Gogaladze,
  • Mikhail Son,
  • Matteo Lattuada,
  • Vitaliy Anistratenko,
  • Vitaly Syomin,
  • ana Pavel,
  • Oana-Paula Popa,
  • Luis-Ovidiu Popa,
  • Jan-Johan Poorten,
  • Jacobus Biesmeijer,
  • Niels Raes,
  • Thomas Wilke,
  • Arthur Sands,
  • Teodora Trichkova,
  • Zdravko Hubenov,
  • Maxim Vinarski,
  • Olga Anistratenko,
  • Tatiana Alexenko,
  • Frank Wesselingh
Aleksandre Gogaladze
Naturalis Biodiversity Center
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Mikhail Son
Institute of Marine Biology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
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Matteo Lattuada
Justus Liebig Universitat Giessen
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Vitaliy Anistratenko
I I Schmalhausen Institute of Zoology National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
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Vitaly Syomin
FSBIS P P Shirshov Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
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ana Pavel
INCD GeoEcoMar
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Oana-Paula Popa
Muzeul National de Istorie Naturala Grigore Antipa
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Luis-Ovidiu Popa
Muzeul National de Istorie Naturala Grigore Antipa
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Jan-Johan Poorten
Field Museum of Natural History
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Jacobus Biesmeijer
Naturalis Biodiversity Center
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Niels Raes
Naturalis Biodiversity Center
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Thomas Wilke
Justus Liebig Universitat Giessen
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Arthur Sands
Justus Liebig Universitat Giessen
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Teodora Trichkova
Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
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Zdravko Hubenov
Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
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Maxim Vinarski
Saint Petersburg State University
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Olga Anistratenko
I I Schmalhausen Institute of Zoology National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
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Tatiana Alexenko
Kherson Hydrobiological Station of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
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Frank Wesselingh
Naturalis Biodiversity Center
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Abstract

Aim The unique aquatic Pontocaspian (PC) biota of the Black Sea Basin (BSB) is in decline. Lack of detailed knowledge on the status and trends of species, populations and communities hampers a thorough risk assessment and precludes effective conservation. This paper aims to review PC biodiversity trends using endemic molluscs as a model group. We aim to assess changes in PC habitats, community structure and species distribution over the past century and to identify direct anthropogenic threats. Location Black Sea Basin (Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine and Russia). Methods Presence/absence data of target mollusc species was assembled from literature, reports and personal observations. PC biodiversity trends in the NW BSB coastal regions were established by comparing 20th and 21st century occurrences. Direct drivers of habitat and biodiversity change were identified and documented. Results A very strong decline of PC species and communities during the past century is driven by a) damming of rivers, b) habitat modifications negatively affecting salinity gradients, c) pollution and eutrophication, d) invasive alien species and e) climate change. Four out of 10 studied regions, namely, the Danube Delta – Razim Lake system, Dniester Liman, Dnieper-South Bug Estuary and Taganrog Bay-Don Delta contain the entire spectrum of ecological conditions to support PC communities and still host threatened endemic PC mollusc species. Distribution data is incomplete, but the scale of deterioration of PC species and communities is evident from the assembled data, as are major direct threats. Main conclusions PC biodiversity in the BSB is profoundly affected by human activities. Standardised observation and collection data as well as precise definition of PC biota and habitats are necessary for targeted conservation actions. This study will help to set the research and policy agenda required to improve data collection to accommodate effective conservation of the unique PC biota.

Peer review status:IN REVISION

25 Feb 2021Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
26 Feb 2021Assigned to Editor
26 Feb 2021Submission Checks Completed
01 Mar 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
13 Mar 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor