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MEPS
Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 390:137-144 (2009)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08191

Sediment tolerance of two different morphotypes of the deep-sea coral Lophelia pertusa from the Gulf of Mexico

S. D. Brooke*, M. W. Holmes, C. M. Young

Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, PO Box 5390, Charleston, Oregon 97420, USA

ABSTRACT: On the upper slope of the northern Gulf of Mexico, topographic features are often associated with authigenic carbonate, which provides hard substrate for sessile benthic communities. At depths >300 m, large Lophelia pertusa colonies frequently occur on these carbonate outcroppings. Surficial sediments at these depths are dominated by fine-grained particulates, which are readily resuspended during the episodic high current events that have been documented for the Gulf of Mexico. Colonies of L. pertusa found in the deep Gulf of Mexico exhibit 2 distinct growth forms: the very heavily calcified ‘brachycephala’ and the more fragile ‘gracilis’. The objective of this research was to determine the tolerance of these 2 morphotypes to suspended sediment and to complete burial, using sediment collected from the study region. Results demonstrated that, although both morphotypes of L. pertusa can tolerate fairly heavy sediment conditions, mortality increases rapidly with longer burial or higher sediment loads.


KEY WORDS: Lophelia pertusa · Sediment tolerance · Gulf of Mexico · Deep-water coral · Lophelia morphotypes


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Cite this article as: Brooke SD, Holmes MW, Young CM (2009) Sediment tolerance of two different morphotypes of the deep-sea coral Lophelia pertusa from the Gulf of Mexico. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 390:137-144. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08191

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