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THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT

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The extreme geomorphological heterogeneity that characterizes the depths of the Park results in a great variety of habitats for marine organisms. Starting from offshore we meet the large rocky bank of Cavallara which extends for about 700m from the coast line, reaching a maximum depth of 25m. The deep fractures that cut the reef transversely create a continuous alternation between the so-called photophilic populations (lovers of light) and sciaphilous populations (lovers of shade) formed by polychrome sponges and beautiful walls of sea daisies. By contrast, in the deepest areas, it is possible to admire colonies of yellow Gorgonians and Leptogorgias and the red calcareous algae of the genus Lithophyllum, which are characteristic of the sciaphilous environments of this area. 

Going up towards the coast, the area is characterized by the presence of submerged archaeological structures. Here the maximum depth is around 5-6 metres but the presence of masonry works, canals, tunnels and caves creates a highly diversified environment that gives hospitality to a large number of organisms, adapted to different environmental parameters. Just by looking out into a tunnel, entering an underground fish pond or simply observing the "shadowed" side of a submerged wall, it is possible to notice that the green-brown color of the photophilic algae gives way to the variegated color palette of the sciaphilous sponges. So, while octopuses, bream, damsels and clouds of "guarracini" wander among gorgonians and ancient remains, a moray is lurking right among the ancient Roman Villa’s bricks worn by the time...

Eunicella cavolinii_© P. Ardizio
Eunicella cavolinii_© P. Ardizio
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Peltaster placenta_© M. Simeone
Peltaster placenta_© M. Simeone
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Ceriantus membranaceus_© M. Simeone
Ceriantus membranaceus_© M. Simeone
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Hippocampus guttulatus_© G. Villani
Hippocampus guttulatus_© G. Villani
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Discodoris atromaculata_© P. Ardizio
Discodoris atromaculata_© P. Ardizio
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Dromia personata_ © P. Ardizio
Dromia personata_ © P. Ardizio
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Sabella spallanzanii_© P. Vassallo
Sabella spallanzanii_© P. Vassallo
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Apogon imberbis_© M. Apuleo
Apogon imberbis_© M. Apuleo
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Muraena helena_© G. Villani
Muraena helena_© G. Villani
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Coralligeno_© G. Villani
Coralligeno_© G. Villani
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