Structure and organization of benthic assemblages appears to be closely related both to short- and long-term changes occurring in the marine ecosystem. The responses of benthic organisms are reflected, among others, in: (1) the specific composition (tending to be less complexes as a response to the sources of stress); (2) the trophic-functional structure (showing changes in the dominance of the different strategies depending on the type and intensity of the perturbation). Thus, the spatial and temporal characterization of the structure and organization of the benthic compartment emerges as a basic tool to assess environmental changes linked to stress processes (either natural or anthropogenic).
The present project is an attempt to analyze the specific (based on a precise and accurate taxonomic analysis) and trophic-functional composition of word-wide soft-bottom benthic assemblages in cooperation with the French company CREOCEAN. The final objective is to obtain a homogeneous data basis allowing to predict changes as a response to processes inducing environmental stress.