Relationships between growth, population dynamics, and environmental parameters in the solitary non-zooxanthellate scleractinian coral Caryophyllia inornata along a latitudinal gradient in the Mediterranean Sea

E. Caroselli, F. Ricci, V. Brambilla, G. Mattioli, O. Levy, G. Falini, Z. Dubinsky, S. Goffredo

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The ecology of scleractinian corals may be understood through comparisons between population demographic data and environmental parameters. Growth (growth constant and maximum size) and demographic parameters (population structure stability, instantaneous mortality rate, average age of individuals, percentage of immature individuals, age at maximum biomass, and average age of biomass) of the solitary, non-zooxanthellate, and temperate coral Caryophyllia inornata were investigated at six sites along an 8° latitudinal gradient of temperature and solar radiation (SR) on the western Italian coasts. Growth parameters were homogeneous among populations across the investigated latitudinal range. While demographic parameters were not correlated with depth temperature, populations were progressively less stable and showed a deficiency of young individuals with increasing SR, likely as a result of the lowered energetic resources due to reduced zooplankton availability. These results contrast with data from another Mediterranean non-zooxanthellate solitary coral, Leptopsammia pruvoti, investigated along the same gradient, which shows no correlation between population demography and temperature or SR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-519
Number of pages13
JournalCoral Reefs
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Caryophylliid
  • Demography
  • Global warming
  • Latitudinal gradient
  • Solar radiation
  • Temperate coral
  • Temperature

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