Physiological performance of the cold-water coral Dendrophyllia cornigera reveals its preference for temperate environments
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AuthorsGori, A. (Andrea); Reynaud, S. (Stéphanie); Orejas, C. (Covadonga); Gili, J.M. (Josep María); Ferrier-Pagès, C. (Christine)
Organic carbon fluxes
Cold-water corals (CWCs) are key ecosystem engineers in deep-sea benthic communities around the world. Their distribution patterns are related to several abiotic and biotic factors, of which seawater temperature is arguably one of the most important due to its role in coral physiological processes. The CWCDendrophyllia cornigerahas the particular ability to thrive in several locations in which temperatures range from 11 to 17 C, but to be apparently absent from most CWC reefs at temperatures constantly below 11 C. This study thus aimed to assess the thermal tolerance of this CWC species, collected in the Mediterranean Sea at 12 C, and grown at the three relevant temperatures of 8, 12, and 16 C. This species displayed thermal tolerance to the large range of seawater temperatures investigated, but growth, calcification, respiration, and total organic carbon (TOC) fluxes severely decreased at 8 C compared to the in situ temperature of 12 C. Conversely, no significant differences ...