Observations of Lophelia pertusa and the surficial geology at a deep-water site in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico
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Authigenic carbonate, precipitated in conjunction with biogeochemical activity associated with hydrocarbon and related fluid seepage, provides exposed and buried hard substrate on the crest and flanks of a low-relief mound located on the upper De Soto Slope in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Lophelia pertusa has successfully colonized some of this carbonate material. Individual colonies range in size from a few centimeters to over 1.5 m in diameter while aggregations of closely associated colonies with linear orientations were observed to attain 1.5–2 m in height and width and 3–4 m in length. Many of the aggregated colonies appear to be in the first phase of the `thicket' building stage described by Squires (1964). Colonies less than 50–75 cm in diameter were nearly always completely pure white. Larger colonies and the aggregated colonies are often light to dark brown in coloration at their base and center with many having only white terminal branches and some with no white corallum at all.
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