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19 Occurrence and Biogeography of Mediterranean Cold-Water Corals

  • Giovanni ChimientiEmail author
  • Marzia Bo
  • Marco Taviani
  • Francesco Mastrototaro
Chapter
Part of the Coral Reefs of the World book series (CORW, volume 9)

Abstract

The term cold-water coral sensu lato groups taxa with a more or less pronounced frame-building ability (e.g. Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata) with forest-forming organisms both on hard (e.g. Leiopathes glaberrima, Parantipathes larix, Callogorgia verticillata and Viminella flagellum) and soft bottoms (e.g. Isidella elongata, Funiculina quadrangularis and Kophobelemnon stelliferum). Cold-water coral species and their occurrence in the Mediterranean Sea are here reviewed and discussed from a biogeographic point of view, considering geographical areas of occurrence and bathymetric distribution. The present-day occurrence of living cold-water corals is then compared to the main deep currents of the Mediterranean Sea. Due to the proper interaction between topography and a combination of cold, oxygenated and trophic-carrying water masses (i.e. Levantine Intermediate Water, deep waters and cascading effects), cold-water coral communities develop in a mosaic-like situation along the main paths that such water masses follow within the basin. Finally, knowledge gaps and future perspectives in the study of cold-water coral occurrence, distribution and biogeography are highlighted. The currently still scarce knowledge on the Mediterranean deep-sea and on the basin-scale distribution of the most important cold-water corals species represents crucial biogeographical information. This gives fundamental indications on the location of the Mediterranean vulnerable deep marine ecosystems for future management strategies.

Keywords

Cold-water corals Hard bottoms Soft bottoms Biogeography Mediterranean Sea 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Part of the data reviewed here were sourced from various expeditions in the Central Mediterranean of R/Vs Urania and Minerva Uno within the EU-funded projects CoralFISH, HERMES, HERMIONE, ENPI-ECOSAFIMED and COCONET, as well as from research projects funded by the Italian Ministry for Environment and Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies (MIPAAF), Region Sardinia and Calabria. It is also part of the Flag Project RITMARE (Ricerca Italiana per il Mare), the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, funded by the Ministry of University and Research, of EVER-EST (contract no. 674907) and DG Environment programme IDEM (grant agreement No 11.0661 /2017/750680/SUB/EN V.C2) projects. The authors wish to thank Lorenzo Angeletti, Giovanni Bortoluzzi, Angelo Cau, Simonepietro Canese, Guido Gay and Lidia Orsi-Relini for their personal communications and Patrick J. Schembri, Pilar Marín and Covadonga Orejas for their useful suggestions to improve this chapter. The authors are also grateful to L. Angeletti, A. Cau, Julian Evans, André Freiwald, Leyla Knittweis, ICM-CSIC/IFM-GEOMAR, Italian MIPAAF, Maltese Environment and Resource Authority and Oceana for photo courtesy. This is ISMAR-Bologna scientific contribution n. 1922.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giovanni Chimienti
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marzia Bo
    • 2
  • Marco Taviani
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Francesco Mastrototaro
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Biologia and CoNISMa LRUUniversità degli Studi di Bari Aldo MoroBariItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, dell’Ambiente e della VitaUniversità degli Studi di GenovaGenovaItaly
  3. 3.Institute of Marine Sciences (ISMAR-CNR)BolognaItaly
  4. 4.Biology DepartmentWoods Hole Oceanographic InstitutionWoods HoleUSA
  5. 5.Stazione Zoologica Anton DohrnNaplesItaly

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