[Coral-List] New Publication on MEPS about the population sexual structure and reproduction of a GCC-stricken gorgonian population

Giovanni Santangelo gsantangelo at biologia.unipi.it
Thu Jan 10 05:33:22 EST 2013

Dear colleagues,
we just published on MARINE ECOLOGY PROGRESS SERIES Vol. 469: 25–36, 
2012 the paper:  "Sexual structure of a highly reproductive, recovering 
gorgonian population: quantifying reproductive output" by Cupido, 
Cocito, Manno, Ferrando, Peirano, Iannelli, Bramanti, Santangelo.
The population studied was subject to anomalous mortality events in 1999 
and 2003 and is now recovering; we are studying the recovery process 
from a Demographic point of view on a 12 year long dataset.

Other papers on this topic are: Cupido et al. Unexpected long-term 
population dynamics in a canopy-forming gorgonian following mass
mortality. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 394: 195−200 2009 and Cupido et al. 
Response of a gorgonian (Paramuricea clavata) population to mortality 
events: recovery or loss? Aquat Conserv 18: 984−992 2008.

Please, feel free to wirte to me for a pdf copy of these papers at the 
following Email: gsantangelo at biologia.unipi.it

Giovanni Santangelo

Prof. Giovanni Santangelo
Department of Biology (Zoology-Animal Ecology)
via A. Volta, 6
I-56126 Pisa, Italy
Phone: 0039 050 2211382
Fax: 0039 050 2211393
cell: 320 5621782
web: www.red-coral.eu

ABSTRACT: A population of the Mediterranean red gorgonian Paramuricea 
clavata has exhibited
unexpected resilience after being impacted by 2 anomalous mortality 
events in 1999 and 2003. To
understand the recovery mechanisms, we examined the population 
reproductive structure and
reproductive output based on data collected via non-destructive sampling 
techniques. The overall
population sex ratio was balanced, though the spatial distribution of 
sexes was significantly
segregated. Dividing the population into 14 size classes on the basis of 
their measured average
annual growth revealed a decreasing monotonic trend of abundance of 
larger classes. The
Recruitment class was consistently dominant. The minimum size at first 
reproduction was 8.5 cm
in height, corresponding to an age of ~3 yr. The percentage of fertile 
colonies increased with size,
reaching 90% in size Class 9. Polyp fecundity increased with colony size 
and did not differ significantly
between healthy and damaged colonies. As the number of mature oocytes 
produced by a
colony is a function of polyp fecundity and of the number of 
reproductive polyps, colony reproductive
output increased exponentially with size. The population reproductive 
output (145 × 103
mature oocytes m−2 yr−1) was one-fifth of that measured in stable, 
undamaged populations and
came mainly from the medium size classes. After the catastrophic 
mortality, the population has
been recovering, albeit with reduced reproductive output. Moreover, it 
has exhibited a 2-fold
increase in recruitment rate, 3-fold greater than that measured in 
other, undisturbed populations.
Our findings are consistent with a strict density-dependent recruitment 
control operating in
crowded, stable P. clavata populations.
KEY WORDS: Mass mortality · Northwe

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