Marine Biology

, Volume 161, Issue 5, pp 1015–1026 | Cite as

Demographic parameters of two populations of red coral (Corallium rubrum L. 1758) in the North Western Mediterranean

  • L. Bramanti
  • I. Vielmini
  • S. Rossi
  • G. Tsounis
  • M. Iannelli
  • R. Cattaneo-Vietti
  • C. Priori
  • G. Santangelo
Original Paper


The demographic and reproductive structure of populations represents the main data set needed for conservation and management plans. Mediterranean red coral Corallium rubrum has been exploited for 2,000 years, but only recently management plans have been solicited by the international community. We examined and compared the demographic features of two red coral shallow populations located in distinct geographic locations: Portofino (Italy) and Cap de Creus (Spain). Adults and juveniles density, growth rates, population size and age structure, fecundity and fertility were examined. Juveniles were the dominant class (33 %) in both populations. The analysis of the gamete content of 653 colonies revealed that the populations have balanced sex ratios and similar fertility and polyp fecundity. The average annual growth rate, determined on 119 colonies by annual growth rings count, was similar in both populations (0.24 mm year−1), decreasing with colony age. Maximum life span of 99 % of the colonies was 60 and 40 years at Portofino and Cap de Creus, respectively. Minimum harvestable size (7 mm basal diameter) was reached in 30–35 years, and the percentage of colonies above it was 6.7 % at Portofino and 2.1 % at Cap de Creus, where juvenile and adult colony densities were significantly lower and the percentage of commercial-sized colonies reduced by 25 % in just a few years. Notwithstanding similar growth and fecundity, the two populations showed different densities and size/age structures suggesting local factors, together with different fishing pressures, have to be taken into account in the management plans for this species.


Basal Diameter Marine Reserve Adult Coloni Juvenile Density Boring Sponge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors are grateful for the invaluable support of Portofino MPA and Cap de Creus MPA. L Bramanti was supported by a Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship within the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (CORGARD Project No. 221072), and S Rossi was funded by a Ramón y Cajal Contract (RyC-2007-01327). The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement 265103 (Project MedSeA). Part of the project was funded by the Italy–Spain exchange program UNIPI-CSIC, PRIN 2011 and BENTOLARV (CTM2009-10007). Thanks to Fischer Italia and SSI Italia for support and to TDI and Aldo Ferrucci for the CCR Megalodon units used for the underwater sampling. A thanks also to the European diving center and to Toni Garcia for the logistic help in the field work and to A. Cafazzo, D. Brown and K. Guizien for the revision of the English and comments on the manuscript. Data and results form part of PhD thesis of I. Vielmini at Pisa University.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Bramanti
    • 1
    • 2
    • 8
  • I. Vielmini
    • 3
  • S. Rossi
    • 4
  • G. Tsounis
    • 5
  • M. Iannelli
    • 6
  • R. Cattaneo-Vietti
    • 7
  • C. Priori
    • 8
  • G. Santangelo
    • 8
  1. 1.CNRS, UMR8222, LECOB, Observatoire OcéanologiqueUniversité Pierre et Marie CurieBanyuls-sur-MerFrance
  2. 2.Instituto de Ciencias del Mar, Barcelona (ICM-CSIC)BarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.AquaTTDublin 2Ireland
  4. 4.Environmental Science and Technology InstituteAutonomous University of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  5. 5.Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology GmbH (ZMT)BremenGermany
  6. 6.Department of MathematicsUniversità di TrentoPovo, TrentoItaly
  7. 7.Dipartimento per lo Studio del Territorio e delle sue Risorse (Dip.Te.Ris)Università di GenovaGenoaItaly
  8. 8.Department of BiologyUniversità di PisaPisaItaly

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