Population Dynamics of Temperate Corals in a Changing Climate

  • Erik Caroselli
  • Stefano Goffredo


In contrast with the number of studies on tropical species, analyses of the variation of growth parameters with environmental variables in temperate areas are very scarce. Notwithstanding the importance of obtaining information on coral population dynamics, few studies have quantified demographic parameters of scleractinian corals, partly because of the processes of fragmentation, fusion and partial colony mortality, which cause corals of similar size to be of widely different ages, thus distorting the age-size relationships. Available literature on growth and population dynamics of natural populations of temperate scleractinians is reviewed in the present work. As general trends, it seems that: (1) solitary species have a definite growth pattern, in contrast with colonial species; (2) symbiotic species are more sensitive to increasing temperatures and more vulnerable to global warming; (3) non-symbiotic species are more tolerant to increasing temperature, but may be negatively affected by the indirect effects of increasing solar radiation; and (4) even if the energy resulting from photosynthesis may increase as a consequence of ocean acidification, the growth and abundance of symbiotic corals seem to be negatively affected by acidification and the negative response of non-symbiotic corals is expected to be even stronger.


Astrangia Azooxanthellate Balanophyllia Caryophyllia Cladocora Definite growth Demography Field studies Global warming Growth Leptopsammia Natural populations Ocean acidification Oculina pH Temperate corals Temperate scleractinians Temperature Zooxanthellate 



This review was written during the implementation of the EU project “CoralWarm–Corals and global warming: the Mediterranean versus the Red Sea”, funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013)/ERC grant agreement no [249930;]


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marine Science Group, Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental SciencesUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly

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