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Article

After the Fall: The Demographic Destiny of a Gorgonian Population Stricken by Catastrophic Mortality

1
Demography and Conservation of Long-Lived Species Lab., Department of Biology, University of Pisa, via Volta 4, 56126 Pisa, Italy
2
ENEA Marine Environment Research Centre, Località Pozzuolo di Lerici, 19032 Lerici (La Spezia), Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Rupert Ormond
Received: 11 January 2021 / Revised: 18 March 2021 / Accepted: 9 April 2021 / Published: 19 April 2021
In recent years, the frequency of mass mortality events in marine ecosystems has increased, and several populations of benthic organism have been affected, reducing their density and changing their size and age structure. Few details are known about the dynamics of these populations over long time intervals. In late summer of both 1999 and 2003 two drastic mass mortality events, co-occurring with anomalous temperature increases, affected the northwestern Mediterranean rocky coastal communities. Due to these events the Paramuricea clavata population living at the western edge of La Spezia Gulf (Italy) was stricken, and 78% of the colonies died. This population was monitored from 1998 (pre-mortality) until 2013. This paper deals with the photographic sampling of permanent plots carried out in 2013. The findings were compared with those from the previous sampling series. This long-term, non-destructive sampling highlights the demographic trajectory of the octocoral population there after two anomalous mortality events, indicating that some new drop-point between local extinction and complete recovery may be have been reached. Long-term monitoring (including pre-mortality data) could allow evaluating the effects of global climate change on the conservation of impacted populations. View Full-Text
Keywords: long-term mortality series; population dynamics; mass mortality; octocorals; habitat forming species; extinction; survival; equilibrium points long-term mortality series; population dynamics; mass mortality; octocorals; habitat forming species; extinction; survival; equilibrium points
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ruffaldi Santori, S.; Benedetti, M.C.; Cocito, S.; Peirano, A.; Cupido, R.; Erra, F.; Santangelo, G. After the Fall: The Demographic Destiny of a Gorgonian Population Stricken by Catastrophic Mortality. Oceans 2021, 2, 337-350. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/oceans2020020

AMA Style

Ruffaldi Santori S, Benedetti MC, Cocito S, Peirano A, Cupido R, Erra F, Santangelo G. After the Fall: The Demographic Destiny of a Gorgonian Population Stricken by Catastrophic Mortality. Oceans. 2021; 2(2):337-350. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/oceans2020020

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ruffaldi Santori, Simona, Maria C. Benedetti, Silvia Cocito, Andrea Peirano, Roberta Cupido, Fabrizio Erra, and Giovanni Santangelo. 2021. "After the Fall: The Demographic Destiny of a Gorgonian Population Stricken by Catastrophic Mortality" Oceans 2, no. 2: 337-350. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/oceans2020020

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