The ecology of scleractinian corals may be understood through comparisons between population demographic data and environmental parameters. Growth (growth constant and maximum size) and demographic parameters (population structure stability, instantaneous mortality rate, average age of individuals, percentage of immature individuals, age at maximum biomass, and average age of biomass) of the solitary, non-zooxanthellate, and temperate coral Caryophyllia inornata were investigated at six sites along an 8° latitudinal gradient of temperature and solar radiation (SR) on the western Italian coasts. Growth parameters were homogeneous among populations across the investigated latitudinal range. While demographic parameters were not correlated with depth temperature, populations were progressively less stable and showed a deficiency of young individuals with increasing SR, likely as a result of the lowered energetic resources due to reduced zooplankton availability. These results contrast with data from another Mediterranean non-zooxanthellate solitary coral, Leptopsammia pruvoti, investigated along the same gradient, which shows no correlation between population demography and temperature or SR.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We wish to thank S. Branchini, F. Gizzi, M. Marinozzi, S. Prantoni, and F. Turano for their underwater assistance. The diving centers Centro Immersioni Pantelleria, Il Pesciolino, Bubble Lounge, and Sub Maldive supplied logistics in the field. The Scientific Diving School ( www.sdseducational.org ) supplied scientific, technical, and logistical support. Coral photographs are provided by G. Neto ( www.giannineto.it ). We thank H. Matz for manuscript proofreading. The research leading to these results received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ERC Grant Agreement No. [249930-CoralWarm: Corals and global warming: the Mediterranean versus the Red Sea].
© 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
- Global warming
- Latitudinal gradient
- Solar radiation
- Temperate coral