Ustica, hot spot of biodiversity

Published by Maria Rita AMICO on

Ustica, hot spot of biodiversity

Due to its position in the Tyrrhenian Sea, Ustica is a Mecca for Mediterranean biodiversity. The underwater relief but also due to the Atlantic currents which bring a large quantity of nutrients with them allow many species of fish to settle. All animals and plants species then represent a small natural pool of biodiversity.

Within the Ustica Marine Reserve, animal and plant species are protected, including Posidonia Oceania.  It is only found in the Mediterranean, in very clear waters. Its presence is an indicator of a “healthy” sea. Posidonia grasslands are extremely important habitat for many species.

Did you know that Posidonia was not an algae? It is part of the Posidoniaceae family and is an underwater flowering plant. They have roots and reproduce thanks to the fruits they produce. It is therefore easier to understand that they serve as a refuge, a nursery or a feeding ground for many species!

When simply swimming with a mask and snorkel, you can observe and discover, at the surface, beautiful coloured bottoms and a very rich fauna and flora; scorpion fish, castagnolls, sea urchins, starfish, serranos, giralles and many others. There are also organisms that enchant us with their bioluminescence such as ctenophores (organisms made almost entirely of water).

The deeper we go, the more varied the encounters are; colored gorgonians or sea lilies, gorgonocephalus, the “fake” black coral! We meet huge schools of barracudas, groupers but also amberjacks . In the island’s caverns there are hundreds of shrimp, huge octopuses, lobsters and other cryptic species!

For those who love the sea, Ustica is a real paradise, where it is possible to discover a variety of animal and plant species without harming this unique world!

Maria Rita AMICO

Maria Rita AMICO

Dottoressa in Biologia Marina

Categories: Biology

Maria Rita AMICO

Maria Rita AMICO

Biologist