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Le grotte sommerse dell’Area Marina Protetta "Porto Cesareo"


Abstract


A census of submarine caves has been carried out along the coast of the Marine Protected Area “Porto Cesareo” in the Gulf of Taranto (South East Italy). The work carried out from September 2007 to June 2010, allowed us to record 11 new caves, formerly unknown, which have to be added to those recently listed by DENITTO and BELMONTE (2008). Maps and rough description of the 11 submerged caves have been deposited at the Regional Catalogue of Karstic structures. The geomorphologic phenomenon (submarine caves) were practically undescribed in the MPA, and after the present results a new habitat, of great naturalistic interest, has been added to those described and already protected by the MPA. The scuba expeditions in the caves of the MPA deal with the biological aspects (fauna and community structure) only marginally, and more deeply with the topography. A small number of submerged caves has been proposed, being in the accessible part of the MPA, for scuba tourism. In the next future, both a study on the biology of MPA submarine caves, and a study on the tourism impact on submarine caves will be proposed to complete the investigation here presented.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i15910725v33p15

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