, Volume 58, Issue 4, pp 477-491
Date: 15 Apr 2012

The impact of seawater temperature on coral growth parameters of the colonial coral Cladocora caespitosa (Anthozoa, Scleractinia) in the eastern Adriatic Sea

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Abstract

The scleractinian coral Cladocora caespitosa deserves a special place among the major carbonate bioconstructors of the Mediterranean Sea. Annual coral skeleton growth, coral calcification, and skeleton density of the colonial coral C. caespitosa taken from 25 locations in the eastern Adriatic Sea were analyzed and compared with annual sea surface temperatures (SST). The growth rates of the coral C. caespitosa from the 25 stations in the Adriatic Sea ranged from 1.92 to 4.19 mm per year, with higher growth rates of the investigated corallites in the southern part of the Adriatic Sea. These growth rates are similar to those measured in other areas of the Mediterranean Sea. The correlation between coral growth and sea temperatures in the Adriatic Sea is seen as follows: An X-radiograph analysis of coral growth in C. caespitosa colonies that are over 60 years old showed that higher growth rates of this coral coincided with a warmer period in the Mediterranean Sea. A positive significant correlation exists between corallite growth rates and SST and coral calcification and SST. A negative correlation exists between coral density and SST. Coral growth rates also showed a correlation with higher eutrophication caused by nearby fish farms, along with a greater depth of the investigated colonies and high bottom currents.