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Occurrence and distribution of the coral Dendrophyllia ramea in Cyprus insular shelf: environmental setting and anthropogenic impacts

Occurrence and distribution of the coral Dendrophyllia ramea in Cyprus insular shelf: environmental setting and anthropogenic impacts
Occurrence and distribution of the coral Dendrophyllia ramea in Cyprus insular shelf: environmental setting and anthropogenic impacts
Occurrence and abundance of deep-water corals in the Levantine Mediterranean Sea is still largely unknown. This is the first attempt to quantitatively describe a Dendrophyllia ramea population discovered in June 2015 during the CYCLAMEN expedition on board the Research Vessel Aegaeo. This population is the deepest ever described until now in the Mediterranean and was found on the outer insular shelf off eastern Cyprus (Protaras, 35°02′N; 34°05′E). Video transects conducted by means of a remotely operated vehicle revealed a well-developed population of D. ramea located on a sandy seabed at 125–170 m depth. The highest density was 6 colonies m−2 and on average 1.6 ± 1.4 (SD) colonies m−2. The population consists of isolated or piled up branches of various sizes and large colonies, some ∼50 cm max width. The corals thrive on soft bottoms, representing a rather novel aspect of the research on D. ramea, since the species is still considered to be mostly associated with rocky substrates. The occurrence of the species in sedimentary grounds makes it especially vulnerable to bottom contact fishing gears as bottom trawling. Spatial distribution of the coral population, as well as a first attempt to characterize its habitat, are explored as an approach to describe the habitat's suitability and the vulnerability for the species in the area.
0967-0645
1-16
Orejas, C
d9ec1e64-3070-438c-80da-bc288e752e21
Gori, A
509bae23-97e8-4c7f-bb9f-798d3d66d691
Jiménez, C
814a76ac-0e53-4b1e-a0f0-d3acb5ffa48a
Rivera, J
a009df27-6c6b-4913-bbfd-65e1175ea8e0
Kamidis, N
f206afaf-2ebe-4886-840b-69b3f206cd56
Abu Alhaija, R
06e158cf-3197-44c9-8f1a-ad815ff291a6
Lo Iacono, C
2ec2b5f4-a134-462b-b8ba-f7bd757040f5
Orejas, C
d9ec1e64-3070-438c-80da-bc288e752e21
Gori, A
509bae23-97e8-4c7f-bb9f-798d3d66d691
Jiménez, C
814a76ac-0e53-4b1e-a0f0-d3acb5ffa48a
Rivera, J
a009df27-6c6b-4913-bbfd-65e1175ea8e0
Kamidis, N
f206afaf-2ebe-4886-840b-69b3f206cd56
Abu Alhaija, R
06e158cf-3197-44c9-8f1a-ad815ff291a6
Lo Iacono, C
2ec2b5f4-a134-462b-b8ba-f7bd757040f5

Orejas, C, Gori, A, Jiménez, C, Rivera, J, Kamidis, N, Abu Alhaija, R and Lo Iacono, C (2019) Occurrence and distribution of the coral Dendrophyllia ramea in Cyprus insular shelf: environmental setting and anthropogenic impacts. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 1-16. (doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2019.04.006).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Occurrence and abundance of deep-water corals in the Levantine Mediterranean Sea is still largely unknown. This is the first attempt to quantitatively describe a Dendrophyllia ramea population discovered in June 2015 during the CYCLAMEN expedition on board the Research Vessel Aegaeo. This population is the deepest ever described until now in the Mediterranean and was found on the outer insular shelf off eastern Cyprus (Protaras, 35°02′N; 34°05′E). Video transects conducted by means of a remotely operated vehicle revealed a well-developed population of D. ramea located on a sandy seabed at 125–170 m depth. The highest density was 6 colonies m−2 and on average 1.6 ± 1.4 (SD) colonies m−2. The population consists of isolated or piled up branches of various sizes and large colonies, some ∼50 cm max width. The corals thrive on soft bottoms, representing a rather novel aspect of the research on D. ramea, since the species is still considered to be mostly associated with rocky substrates. The occurrence of the species in sedimentary grounds makes it especially vulnerable to bottom contact fishing gears as bottom trawling. Spatial distribution of the coral population, as well as a first attempt to characterize its habitat, are explored as an approach to describe the habitat's suitability and the vulnerability for the species in the area.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 8 April 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 11 April 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 432218
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/432218
ISSN: 0967-0645
PURE UUID: 5dbf7eca-b1a2-4387-ac5e-11228942f307

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Date deposited: 04 Jul 2019 16:30
Last modified: 04 Jul 2019 16:30

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Contributors

Author: C Orejas
Author: A Gori
Author: C Jiménez
Author: J Rivera
Author: N Kamidis
Author: R Abu Alhaija
Author: C Lo Iacono

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