Valisano et al. 2016

scientific article | Mar Ecol

Temporal variability of sedimentation rates and mobile fauna inside and outside a gorgonian garden

Valisano L, Notari F, Mori M, Cerrano C


Paramuricea clavata (Cnidaria, Octocorallia) is an important ecosystem engineer of coralligenous assemblages increasingly threatened by anthropogenic activities and climate changes. As climate warming is predicted to continue in the coming years it is important to hypothesize future scenarios. Here we tested the influence of gorgonian colonies on sedimentation rates and vagile fauna trends, comparing sediments collected by traps inside and outside a gorgonian garden, in a coralligenous community of the Western Ligurian Sea, at 32 m depth, over a period of 1 year. The results indicated that sea fans created a sort of homeostatic effect on the surrounding habitat. We found evidence that where gorgonian colonies were present, the monthly fluctuations of sediments rate were lower than outside a garden. Gorgonian colonies also influenced the distribution of the associated vagile fauna; these organisms were generally more abundant inside than outside the garden. The data collected in this work appear to confirm the role of P. clavata as an ecosystem engineer, affecting biomass and variability of the surrounding habitat at both spatial and temporal scales.

Depth range
30- 32 m

Mesophotic “mentions”
0 x (total of 5535 words)

* Presents original data
* Focused on 'mesophotic' depth range
* Focused on 'temperate mesophotic ecosystem'

Community structure
Long-term monitoring

Octocorallia (Soft Corals)
Other invertebrates

Italy - Ligurian Sea

SCUBA (open-circuit or unspecified)

Author profiles