Scientia Marina, Vol 76, No 2 (2012)

Bathymetric distribution and growth rates of Eunicella verrucosa (Cnidaria: Gorgoniidae) populationsalong the Marseilles coast (France)

Stéphane Sartoretto
IFREMER, Zone Portuaire de Brégaillon , France

Patrice Francour
Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis , Spain


Gorgonians are important organisms in the Mediterranean Sea, where they form rocky benthic communities. Four main species (3 Holaxonia and 1 Scleraxonia) are predominant in infra- and circalittoral communities of the northwestern Mediterranean basin. Other species, such as Eunicella verrucosa (Pallas, 1766), are more rarely encountered. The expansion to unusually shallow bathymetric levels has been noted in the region of Marseilles (France) (between 20 and 40 m depth). A ten-year monitoring of colonies was used to assess the growth rate according to age (size): from 3.33 cm year–1 (height < 15 cm) to 0.62 cm year–1 (height > 40 cm).


Eunicella verrucosa; Mediterranean Sea; growth rate; population structure

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