Marine Biology

, Volume 158, Issue 1, pp 143–158 | Cite as

Spatial distribution patterns of the gorgonians Eunicella singularis, Paramuricea clavata, and Leptogorgia sarmentosa (Cape of Creus, Northwestern Mediterranean Sea)

  • Andrea GoriEmail author
  • Sergio Rossi
  • Elisa Berganzo
  • Joan Lluis Pretus
  • Mark R. T. Dale
  • Josep-Maria Gili
Original Paper


Most of the current knowledge on Mediterranean gorgonians is restricted to investigations of those populations found within shallow sublittoral waters, and only limited data are available for populations located below scuba depth. To overcome this lack of information, the occurrence and abundance of the gorgonians Eunicella singularis, Paramuricea clavata, and Leptogorgia sarmentosa were investigated in northwestern Mediterranean benthic communities over a wide geographical (60 km of coastline) and bathymetrical (0–70 m deep) extent using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). The greatest occurrence and abundances of E. singularis and P. clavata were concentrated in areas that are directly exposed to strong near-bottom currents. E. singularis was the most common and abundant species and displayed great plasticity and amplitude in its environmental preferences. Conversely, P. clavata showed a very patchy distribution that was associated with vertical rocky walls. Only isolated colonies of L. sarmentosa were observed in the study area. Hot spots of abundance of E. singularis and P. clavata were identified below a depth of 40 m, which demonstrates the importance of studying the distribution of benthic species over a wide geographical and bathymetrical extent.


Sampling Unit Remotely Operate Vehicle Bathymetrical Distribution Adult Coloni Young Coloni 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank R Hernandez for his suggestions during the video laboratory assembly, PR Peres-Neto and D Borcard for their valuable updates on the variance partitioning method, JL Riera for his precious help with the software R. We are grateful to C Orejas for her useful comments which helped improving the manuscript, to S Requena for her help with the software QUANTUMGIS, and to A Purser, E Nebreda and C Dominguez for the revision of the English. Andrea Gori has been financed by a I3P contract of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (Ref. I3P-BPD2005), and Sergio Rossi by a Ramón y Cajal contract (RyC-2007-01327). This work is part of the 2003–2004 INTERREG project between Catalonia-Languedoc Rouissillon “Pirineus Mediterrànis: La muntanya que uneix” of the CSIC and CNRS.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Gori
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sergio Rossi
    • 2
  • Elisa Berganzo
    • 3
  • Joan Lluis Pretus
    • 4
  • Mark R. T. Dale
    • 5
  • Josep-Maria Gili
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut de Ciències del MarConsejo Superior de Investigaciónes CientificasBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia AmbientalsUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaCerdanyola del Vallès, BarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Centre de Recerca Ecològica i Aplicacions ForestalsUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaCerdanyola del Vallès, BarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Departament d’Ecologia, Facultat de BiologiaUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  5. 5.University of Northern British ColumbiaPrince GeorgeCanada

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