Slow growth and early sexual maturity: Bane and boon for the red coral Corallium rubrum

Ivo Gallmetzer, Alexandra Haselmair, Branko Velimirov (Korresp. Autor*in)

    Veröffentlichungen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelPeer Reviewed


    This study investigates the size, age and growth of Corallium rubrum which is a key species of the only large reef-like structure in the Mediterranean Sea, the coralligene. Two populations were studied in the Ligurian Sea at a depth between 36 and 42 m. Basal diameter, colony height and numbers of branches of 230 colonies were measured, and age and growth rates were assessed from 25 colonies. Mean growth rate was 0.2 mm yr(-1) of basal diameter growth, corresponding to a mean annual total branch length increase of 5 mm. These results point to a coral growth much slower than assumed in many earlier studies. Additionally, age and size at first reproduction were analysed. Male colonies were shown to become sexually mature at a minimum age of six years (1.2 mm of basal diameter), while female colonies reached maturity when at least 10 years old (2 mm of basal diameter). We further discuss the implications of slow growth and early sexual maturity for red coral management and conservation.
    Seiten (von - bis)1-10
    FachzeitschriftEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
    PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2010

    ÖFOS 2012

    • 1060 Biologie