Corallium rubrum and Eunicella cavolini are two octocorals, reported as co-occurring species in the deep rocky habitats of the Mediterranean Sea with a high hydrodynamic and moderate eutrophication. Their spatial distribution and demography in the deep sea are mainly affected by temperature and direct and indirect anthropogenic activities; however, knowledge of the factors that potentially influence their co-existence is scarce. This paper provides novel data on the distribution and demography of these two species, at depths between 50 and 290 m in the Western Mediterranean Sea, providing insights on their co-occurrence. Both species exhibited the highest population density at deeper sites (>150 m), showing an inverse size–density relation. Density values ranged from 0.03 colonies m−2 to 32 and 80 col. m−2 for yellow gorgonian and red coral, respectively. The two species co-occurred in 13% of the total frames examined, mostly dwelling between 120 and 160 m depth. Distance-based linear modeling (DistLM) emphasized that when co-occurring the variability of the two species’ densities were significantly driven by the density— rather than the morphology (i.e., height)—of the other species. We stress the need for further studies to elucidate the possible mutual effects of suspension feeders and to test the role of different environmental factors potentially influencing inter-specific relationships.

Deep-Dwelling Populations of Mediterranean Corallium rubrum and Eunicella cavolini: Distribution, Demography, and Co-occurrence

Carugati L.
Primo
;
Moccia D.;Cannas R.;Follesa M. C.;Salvadori S.;Cau A.
2022-01-01

Abstract

Corallium rubrum and Eunicella cavolini are two octocorals, reported as co-occurring species in the deep rocky habitats of the Mediterranean Sea with a high hydrodynamic and moderate eutrophication. Their spatial distribution and demography in the deep sea are mainly affected by temperature and direct and indirect anthropogenic activities; however, knowledge of the factors that potentially influence their co-existence is scarce. This paper provides novel data on the distribution and demography of these two species, at depths between 50 and 290 m in the Western Mediterranean Sea, providing insights on their co-occurrence. Both species exhibited the highest population density at deeper sites (>150 m), showing an inverse size–density relation. Density values ranged from 0.03 colonies m−2 to 32 and 80 col. m−2 for yellow gorgonian and red coral, respectively. The two species co-occurred in 13% of the total frames examined, mostly dwelling between 120 and 160 m depth. Distance-based linear modeling (DistLM) emphasized that when co-occurring the variability of the two species’ densities were significantly driven by the density— rather than the morphology (i.e., height)—of the other species. We stress the need for further studies to elucidate the possible mutual effects of suspension feeders and to test the role of different environmental factors potentially influencing inter-specific relationships.
2022
Co-occurrence; Corallium rubrum; Deep sea; Demography; Eunicella cavolini; Mediterranean Sea
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/330695
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