First insights into the demography of the rare gorgonian Spinimuricea klavereni in the Mediterranean Sea

Topcu N. E. , ÖZTÜRK B.

MARINE ECOLOGY-AN EVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVE, vol.37, no.5, pp.1154-1160, 2016 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 37 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/maec.12352
  • Page Numbers: pp.1154-1160


We present the results of the first study to highlight the demography, morphometry and growth rates of Spinimuricea klavereni, a rare Mediterranean endemic gorgonian exceptionally common in shallow depths of the Northeast Marmara Sea. In the study area, this species forms vast populations on rocks, boulders and attached to pebbles/stones/shells on soft substrates between 20 and 45m depth, with a total average density of 0.3coloniesm(-2) but comprising patches up to 3coloniesm(-2). Colonies, which are on average 42.9 (+/- 20.1) cm in height, can reach up to 110cm. Unlike other Mediterranean gorgonians, the colonies studied here showed fast growth rates that decreased with increasing colony height, between 1.5-11.1 and 4.96 +/- 3.01 cmyear(-1) on average. The low necrosis and high growth rates displayed by this species in the Northeast Marmara Sea confirm the previously hypothesized opportunistic behaviour of the species. The unique community consisting of S. klavereni and other rare gorgonian/soft corals has limited distribution in this area and should be considered to be a vulnerable marine ecosystem. Therefore we recommend that some conservation measures are taken, including the prohibition of all fisheries and anchoring over these assemblages.