Rapid recovery from injuries in the temperate long-lived coral Cladocora caespitosa
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- Casado, C., Kersting, D.K., Cebrian, E. et al. Mar Biodiv (2015) 45: 135. doi:10.1007/s12526-014-0219-2
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Cladocora caespitosa is a colonial and symbiotic scleractinian coral endemic to the Mediterranean Sea, which is threatened by disturbances related to global change. To assess its recovery capacity from physically induced tissue injuries, one to three polyps from 46 colonies were collected at 15 m depth in the Columbretes Islands Marine Reserve (NW Mediterranean Sea) and were subjected to injuries that partially affected both tissue and skeleton. For 3 months, colonies were maintained in aquaria, where polyps were surveyed photographically every 2 days. The first signs of recovery were detected during the 3rd week and 68 % of injured polyps showed total recovery after 2 months. The recovery capacity in aquarium conditions contrasts with the slow growth of this long-lived species. However, rapid recovery is an advantage in competition with other organisms of shallow dynamic Mediterranean communities. Further research on recovery mechanisms is needed to better assess the resilience of this species.