Coral Reefs

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 823–837 | Cite as

Reproductive cycle and trophic ecology in deep versus shallow populations of the Mediterranean gorgonian Eunicella singularis (Cap de Creus, northwestern Mediterranean Sea)

  • A. GoriEmail author
  • N. Viladrich
  • J-M. Gili
  • M. Kotta
  • C. Cucio
  • L. Magni
  • L. Bramanti
  • S. Rossi


The annual gonad development of a shallow (20 m depth) population of the Mediterranean gorgonian Eunicella singularis was found to be closely synchronized with that of a deep (60 m depth) population, but differences were observed in the gonadal output, with the shallow population producing more and larger sexual products. Lipid content in the shallow population showed a marked seasonality, peaking during summer. In contrast, lipid content remained persistently lower in the deep population. Fatty acids as well as C/N composition were also seasonal in the shallow population and more constant in the deep one. The isotopic composition (δ15N and δ13C) of the shallow colonies was similar to values observed for passive suspension feeders with symbiotic algae, whereas the deep colonies exhibited values similar to those of aposymbiotic passive suspension feeders that primarily feed on microzooplankton and particulate organic matter. These results highlight the importance of considering the depth-related variability among populations in order to achieve a better understanding of the ecology of sessile benthic suspension feeders.


Gorgonian Reproduction Energy storage Fatty acids δ15N–δ13Mediterranean Sea 



The authors are grateful to A Olariaga and T Garcia for assistance during the field work, to N Moraleda for her advice during the laboratory work, to P Comes and F Elias for assistance with the stable isotops analyses, to J Sants and A Arias for their assistance with the CTDs, to A Dotor and D Owen for the revision of the English. A Gori was funded by a I3P contract of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (Ref. I3P-BPD2005), N Viladrich was funded by a FI AGAUR research grant, L Bramanti was funded by Marie Curie IEF (Corgard, Project no. 221072), and S Rossi was funded by a Ramón y Cajal Contract (RyC-2007-01327). This work was supported by the BENTOLARV project (CTM2009-10007).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOC 26 kb)
338_2012_904_MOESM2_ESM.doc (424 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 423 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Gori
    • 1
    Email author
  • N. Viladrich
    • 2
  • J-M. Gili
    • 1
  • M. Kotta
    • 1
  • C. Cucio
    • 1
  • L. Magni
    • 1
  • L. Bramanti
    • 1
  • S. Rossi
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut de Ciències del MarConsejo Superior de Investigaciónes CientificasBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia AmbientalsUniversitat Autònoma de Barcelona, UABCerdanyola del Vallès, BarcelonaSpain

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