Exploring the genetic diversity and the population structure of the mesophotic Paramuricea macrospina in the Menorca Channel
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AuthorsPaletta, Maria Grazia; Grinyó, J. (Jordi); Gili, J.M. (Josep María); Díaz, D. (David); Muñoz-Caballero, A. (Anabel); Garrabou, J. (Joaquim); Abbiati, Marco; Ledoux, Jean-Baptiste; Costantini, Federica
Gorgonians play an important structural and functional role promoting high diversity and biomass of associated fauna. Up to now, studies on gorgonian ecology in the Mediterranean Sea have been focused mainly on the SCUBA diving depth range. Although increased availability of remotely operated vehicles allowed access to the deeper areas, gorgonian assemblages located on continental shelf and slopes are still barely known. Gorgonian assemblages on continental shelves are extremely vulnerable to anthropogenic impacts, especially bottom trawling and longline fishing. To implement effective management and conservation policies it is crucial to understand patterns of genetic structure among populations since connectivity enhances the resilience of populations. Paramuricea macrospina is a key structuring gorgonian in the Menorca Channel's (Balearic Archipelago) outer continental shelf where it covers vast extensions, reaching very high densities. Combining two mitochondrial makers and 10 ...