[Coral-List] New Publication on red coral recruitment on JEMBE

Giovanni Santangelo gsantangelo at biologia.unipi.it
Fri Nov 30 04:03:46 EST 2012

Dear colleagues,
The following paper dealing with recruitment and early growth rate of 
the highly valuable Mediterranean red coral 
(Anthozoa-Octocorallia-Gorgonacea) has been recently published:
Patterns of variation in recruitment and post-recruitment processes of 
the Mediterranean precious gorgonian coral Corallium rubrum.
G. Santangelo a,⁎, L. Bramanti a,b, S. Rossi c, G. Tsounis b, I. 
Vielmini a, C. Lott d, J.M. Gili
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 411 (2012) 7–13

Please, feel free to wirte to me for a pdf copy.

This research seeks to quantify recruitment, early survival and early 
colony growth in different populations of
the precious Mediterranean red coral. Although basic to our 
understanding of red coral ecology and population
dynamics, these early life-history descriptors are still poorly 
understood. To fill this lack of knowledge,
marble settlement tiles were placed at 35±1 m depth within 3 populations 
of Corallium rubrum dwelling
in the coralligenous habitat of different geographic areas of the 
north-western Mediterranean: Calafuria
and Elba Island (Italy), and Medes Islands MPA (Spain), following a 
multifactorial ANOVA model and sampled
photographically for four years (2003–2006). Overall, 517 red coral 
recruits settled on the tiles during the
experiment, 189 of which (126 at Calafuria and 63 at Elba) were still 
surviving, in 2007, when the tiles
were removed. The recruitment density at Medes was only one tenth of 
that at Calafuria and Elba (0.56±0.21
vs. 6.06±1.75 and 4.66±1.01 recruits dm−2, mean±SE). No colony survived 
after four years at Medes,
where the lowest recruitment rate was also found. As the age of each new 
settled colony was known, it was
possible to measure the early growth rates of individual colonies. The 
growth rates thus obtained were two
to three times higher than that measured in older colonies and differed 
significantly between the geographic
areas (the growth of colony basal diameter was 0.68±0.02 and 0.59±0.19 
mm/year at Calafuria and Elba),
while no significant difference was found between the actual colony 
growth and that previously measured
in the former area. A test for secondary substrate selectivity, carried 
out in one area, showed that red coral
preferentially settles on tubes of Serpulida than on other encrusting 
organisms. However, since recruitment
density at Medes was lower despite the four-fold higher cover of 
Serpulida found there, other factors, intrinsic
to the populations, such as different size–age structures or densities, 
leading to different larval output, may
likely have determined red coral recruitment rates in the studied areas.

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