The pink sea fan Eunicella verrucosa (Cnidaria, Anthozoa, Alcyonacea) can form coral forests at mesophotic depths in the Mediterranean Sea. Despite the recognized importance of these habitats, they have been scantly studied and their distribution is mostly unknown. This study reports the new finding of E. verrucosa forests in the Mediterranean Sea, and the updated distribution of this species that has been considered rare in the basin. In particular, one site off Sanremo (Ligurian Sea) was characterized by a monospecific population of E. verrucosa with 2.3 ± 0.2 colonies m−2. By combining new records, literature, and citizen science data, the species is believed to be widespread in the basin with few or isolated colonies, and 19 E. verrucosa forests were identified. The overall associated community showed how these coral forests are essential for species of conservation interest, as well as for species of high commercial value. For this reason, proper protection and management strategies are necessary.

Vulnerable Forests of the Pink Sea Fan Eunicella verrucosa in the Mediterranean Sea

Giovanni Chimienti
2020

Abstract

The pink sea fan Eunicella verrucosa (Cnidaria, Anthozoa, Alcyonacea) can form coral forests at mesophotic depths in the Mediterranean Sea. Despite the recognized importance of these habitats, they have been scantly studied and their distribution is mostly unknown. This study reports the new finding of E. verrucosa forests in the Mediterranean Sea, and the updated distribution of this species that has been considered rare in the basin. In particular, one site off Sanremo (Ligurian Sea) was characterized by a monospecific population of E. verrucosa with 2.3 ± 0.2 colonies m−2. By combining new records, literature, and citizen science data, the species is believed to be widespread in the basin with few or isolated colonies, and 19 E. verrucosa forests were identified. The overall associated community showed how these coral forests are essential for species of conservation interest, as well as for species of high commercial value. For this reason, proper protection and management strategies are necessary.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11586/289330
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