[Coral-List] Antartic animal forest gorgonians

Sergio Rossi sergio.rossi at uab.cat
Fri Mar 15 06:28:49 EDT 2013

Dear collegues,
is  a pleasure to present a small contribution to the trophic ecology of 
Antarctic gorgonians, which is largely unknown. I know they are far from 
our warmest coral reefs, but I found the topic in line with actual 
investigations in other complex communities dominated by suspension 
feeders. The paper uses indirect tools to better understand the trophic 
ecology of seven gorgonian species in the probably less known animal 
forest all over the world.

ABSTRACT: The trophic ecology of Antarctic anthozoans and their role in 
benthic−pelagic coupling
processes is poorly understood. We studied 7 gorgonian species 
(/Primnoisis/ sp., /Fannyella/
/nodosa/, /Ainigmaptilon antarcticum/, /Notisis/ sp., /Primnoella/ sp.., 
/Dasystenella/ sp. and /Thouarella/
sp.) in 2 Antarctic regions: the Eastern Weddell Sea and the Bransfield 
Strait (Antarctic Peninsula)
in austral autumn 2000, a period in which primary productivity 
drastically decreases. We aimed at
finding the main food sources for these gorgonians and to elucidate the 
strategies of the 7 species
in this season, relating the obtained data with their biology and 
ecology. Stable isotope data of the
7 gorgonian species was virtually the same as that measured in the 
phytodetritus of the so called
‘green carpets’ and in microzooplankton (δ13C from −27.7 to −24.8‰; δ15N 
from 4.1 to 7.5‰). A
large proportion of the gorgonian’s diet seems to be based on sedimented 
and resuspended material,
which supports the hypothesis that some suspension feeders deal 
successfully with the
Antarctic winter by consuming phytoplankton sedimented in the ‘green 
carpets’. While stable isotope
analysis suggested similar food sources for 7 species, the biochemical 
balance indicated different
energy storage as lipid values (mean ±SD) ranged from 105.1 ± 99 to 
776.4 ± 354.1 μg lipids
mg−1 organic matter depending on the species. Our results contribute to 
a better understanding of
the trophic ecology of benthic Antarctic gorgonians and their strategies 
for coping with autumn
conditions in this polar environment.


Elias-Piera F, Rossi S, Gili JM, Orejas C (2013) Trophic ecology of 
seven Antarctic gorgonian species through stable isotope and biochemical 
analysis. /Marine Ecology Progress Series /477: 93-106

All the best,

Dr. Sergio Rossi
Institut de Ciència I Tecnologia Ambientals ICTA
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona UAB
UAB Campus Cn s/n
Cerdanyola del Vallés 08193
Barcelona SPAIN

Tel 34 (93) 5814219
Fax 34 (93) 5813331



Skype contact        sergio2605

Sergio.Rossi at uab.cat

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