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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 429:57-65 (2011)  -  DOI:

Long-term growth rates of four Mediterranean cold-water coral species maintained in aquaria

C. Orejas1,3,*, C. Ferrier-Pagès2, S. Reynaud2, A. Gori1, E. Beraud2, G. Tsounis1, D. Allemand2, J. M. Gili1

1Instituto de Ciencias del Mar (CSIC), Pg. Maritim de la Barceloneta 37–49, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
2Centre Scientifique de Monaco, Avenue St Martin, 98000 Monaco
3Present address: Instituto Español de Oceanografía. Centro Oceanográfico de Santander, Promontorio de San Martín s/n,
39004 Santander, Spain

ABSTRACT: Growth rates of the cold-water corals (CWC) Madrepora oculata, Lophelia pertusa, Desmophyllum dianthus and Dendrophyllia cornigera were measured over 8 mo under controlled conditions (12°C in the dark, fed 5 times a week) by means of the buoyant weight technique. Additionally, linear growth rates were measured in M. oculata and L. pertusa for 2 and 1 yr, respectively. The weight measurements revealed growth rates, expressed as percent growth per day (mean ± SD), of 0.11 ± 0.04 for M. oculata, 0.02 ± 0.01 for L. pertusa, 0.06 ± 0.03 for D. dianthus and 0.04 ± 0.02 % d–1 for D. cornigera. Growth in M. oculata was significantly higher (p < 0.0001) than in the other 3 CWC species. For M. oculata and L. pertusa, also linear growth was recorded. These values (mean ± SD) were 0.014 ± 0.007 and 0.024 ± 0.018 mm d–1 for M. oculata and L. pertusa, respectively. This is the first study that compares the growth rates of 4 different CWC species under the same experimental conditions of water flow, temperature, salinity and food supply. These corals have different growth rates, both in terms of total weight increase and linear increase, and these growth rates can be related to interspecific physiological differences. Data on growth rates are essential to understand the population dynamics of CWC as well as the recovery capacity of these communities after disturbance.

KEY WORDS: Madrepora oculata · Lophelia pertusa · Desmophyllum dianthus · Dendrophyllia cornigera · Buoyant weight · Linear growth · Branching patterns · Mediterranean Sea

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Cite this article as: Orejas C, Ferrier-Pagès C, Reynaud S, Gori A and others (2011) Long-term growth rates of four Mediterranean cold-water coral species maintained in aquaria. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 429:57-65.

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