Facies

, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 409–417

First geo-marine survey of living cold-water Lophelia reefs in the Ionian Sea (Mediterranean basin)

  • Marco Taviani
  • Alessandro Remia
  • Cesare Corselli
  • André Freiwald
  • Elisa Malinverno
  • Francesco Mastrototaro
  • Alessandra Savini
  • Angelo Tursi
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10347-004-0039-0

Cite this article as:
Taviani, M., Remia, A., Corselli, C. et al. Facies (2005) 50: 409. doi:10.1007/s10347-004-0039-0

Abstract

Prosperous deep coral mounds including living colonies of Lophelia pertusa together with Madrepora oculata and Desmophyllum dianthus (= D. cristagalli) have been discovered in 2000, by fishery operations on the eastern side of the Ionian Sea. The living coral mounds are located between ca. 300 and 1,100 m on a gently dipping shelf off Apulia at Santa Maria di Leuca (SML), and characterized by a complex seabed topography. Side scan sonar, shallow high-resolution seismics and sampling indicate that these Lophelia-bearing coral mounds colonize quasi-indurate (firmground) Pleistocene sediment. At places live corals were found on Pleistocene coral-hardgrounds. The fauna associated with these Ionian modern coral mounds is less diversified than modern Eastern Atlantic counterparts. The core of living coral mounds colonies is at present located in 500–700 m and is tentatively suggested that their survival is mostly controlled by oceanographic factors. The SML coral banks represent so far a unique example of living Lophelia-bearing coral mounds in the Mediterranean basin.

Keywords

Deep coralLiving Lophelia reefsIonian SeaMediterraneanRecent

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marco Taviani
    • 1
  • Alessandro Remia
    • 1
  • Cesare Corselli
    • 2
  • André Freiwald
    • 3
  • Elisa Malinverno
    • 2
  • Francesco Mastrototaro
    • 4
  • Alessandra Savini
    • 2
  • Angelo Tursi
    • 4
  1. 1.Marine Geology DivisionISMAR, CNRBolognaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Geological Sciences and GeotechnologiesMilano-Bicocca UniversityMilanItaly
  3. 3.Institute of PaleontologyUniversity of Erlangen-NurembergNurembergGermany
  4. 4.Department of ZoologyUniversity of BariBariItaly