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Coral Reefs

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 749–754 | Cite as

High thermal tolerance of two Mediterranean cold-water coral species maintained in aquaria

  • M. S. NaumannEmail author
  • C. Orejas
  • C. Ferrier-Pagès
Note

Abstract

In the Mediterranean deep-sea, scleractinian cold-water corals (CWC) are observed to survive at the uppermost end of their presumed thermal distribution range (4–13 °C). Here, we show that 2 common CWC species (i.e. Dendrophyllia cornigera and Desmophyllum dianthus) maintained in aquaria can indeed tolerate considerably elevated seawater temperatures (17.5 ± 0.1 °C), while growing at similar (D. dianthus) or significantly higher (D. cornigera) rates than conspecifics cultured in parallel for 87 days at ambient Mediterranean deep-sea temperature (12.5 ± 0.1 °C). Neither differences in coral appearance nor mortality were evident for both species at either temperature. D. dianthus grew significantly faster (0.23 ± 0.08 % day−1) than D. cornigera (0.05 ± 0.01 % day−1) under ambient thermal conditions. Growth of D. cornigera increased significantly (0.14 ± 0.07 % day−1) at elevated temperature, while Desmophyllum dianthus growth showed no significant difference under both conditions. These findings suggest that D. dianthus and D. cornigera may be capable of surviving in warmer environments than previously reported, and thus challenge temperature as the paramount limiting environmental factor for the occurrence of some CWC species.

Keywords

Desmophyllum dianthus Dendrophyllia cornigera Temperature Growth Calcification Scleractinia 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by the Prince Albert II Foundation (COMP project), the government of the Principality of Monaco, the European Project HERMIONE (Grant Agreement Number 226354) and the Spanish Project DEEP CORAL (CTM2005-07756-C02-02/MAR). We are grateful to A. Sygut, P. Gilles, P. Letournel and the aquarium team (Musée Océanographic de Monaco), A. Gori, C. Rottier and S. Sikorski (Centre Scientifique de Monaco), B. Vendrell (ICM, CSIC), M. Taviani (ISMAR-CNR) and the crews of RVs ‘García del Cid’, ‘Urania’ and the ‘JAGO-Team’ (IFM-GEOMAR) for technical and logistical support. We thank the topic editor Dr. A. Banaszak and two anonymous reviewers for their help in improving the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre Scientifique de MonacoMonacoPrincipality of Monaco
  2. 2.Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT), Coral Reef Ecology Group (CORE)BremenGermany
  3. 3.Instituto Español de OceanografíaCentro Oceanográfico de BalearesPalma de MallorcaSpain

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