4 A Turbulent Story: Mediterranean Contourites and Cold-Water Corals

  • Michele RebescoEmail author
  • Marco Taviani
Part of the Coral Reefs of the World book series (CORW, volume 9)


Dynamic bottom current regimes govern cold-water corals as well as contourites. We provide an overview of the general aspects of both research fields, with specific attention to the Mediterranean Sea region, which has the particularity to be a climatically-sensitive mid-latitude semi-enclosed basin. In this area there are many examples of along-slope contourite deposits (known as contourite drifts), typically with an along-slope, elongated mounded shape adjacent to a concave moat. Likewise, a number of thriving coral sites, together with sparse occurrences, are present in the central and western Mediterranean, with large coral mounds known so far only in the Alborán Sea. In the Mediterranean Sea both contourite drift and cold-water corals seem mainly related to the Levantine Intermediate Water, but their strict co-existence has still to be ascertained in many cases. Further research should address this aspect and the great potential of combining the two complementary kinds of climate paleo-archives provided by cold-water corals and contourites.


Cold-water corals Contourites Mediterranean Sea Bottom currents Suspended matter 



Thanks are due to Eleonora Martorelli and Dirk Hebbeln for their critical comments that helped improving the clarity of the text. This chapter is part of EU CoCoNet project, (contract no. 287844) EVER-EST Horizon 2020 project (contract no. 674907), DG Environment programme IDEM (grant agreement No 11.0661 /2017/750680/SUB/EN V.C2), and Flag Project Ritmare Ricerca Italiana per il Mare). Ismar-Bologna scientific contribution n. 1917.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.OGSTriesteItaly
  2. 2.Institute of Marine Sciences (ISMAR-CNR)BolognaItaly
  3. 3.Biology DepartmentWoods Hole Oceanographic InstitutionWoods HoleUSA
  4. 4.Stazione Zoologica Anton DohrnNaplesItaly

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