The Central Mediterranean Sea is an area that connects the western and the eastern Mediterranean Sea where migratory fluxes of marine organisms are very peculiar. The high biodiversity of these areas is owed to particular hydrological and geomorphological characteristics (Messina Strait and Sicily Channel). The morphology of the Strait of Messina resembles a funnel with the narrow end to the North and the largest one to the South, and its underwater profile can be compared to a mountain whose opposite sides have markedly different slopes. The great biodiversity that characterizes this ecosystem is linked to the particular hydrology of the area. The Sicily Channel (or Strait of Sicily) is a wide water body located between southern Sicily and northern African coasts and represents the transition between the Western (WMED) and the Eastern (EMED) basins of the Mediterranean Sea. Morphologically, the Strait of Sicily belongs to the continental shelf with some other sub‐units, as basins, seamounts and ‘banks’. The bottoms are generally irregular and canyons are present. Mediterranean Sea has been divided into different biogeographic districts that present great variability in water parameters and biocenosis too. This chapter resumes the main physical, chemical and biological properties of the Central Mediterranean Sea.
Part of the book: Mediterranean Identities