MEPS - Vol. 327 - Feature article

Gerardia sp. (gold coral) from Cross Seamount. Lack of symmetry may result from fishery long lines cutting across the body of the coral. Photo: Maximilian Cremer (Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory).

Roark EB, Guilderson TP, Dunbar RB, Ingram BL

 

Radiocarbon-based ages and growth rates of Hawaiian deep-sea corals

 

On the basis of radiocarbon dating, Roark et al. calculated radial growth rates and longevity of 3 groups of deep-sea corals. Corallium secundum, a precious pink coral, has a growth rate of 170 µm yr–1 and attains an age of 70 years, 2 to 3 times older than previously thought. Gerardia sp. has low growth rates and a life span of 450 to 2700 yr. Leiopathes glaberrima, a deep-water black coral has a life span of several millennia. Slow growth and extreme longevity of deep-sea macrofauna have implications for deep-sea conservation and fishery management plans.

 

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