Growth in a Modular Colonial Marine Invertebrate

Coma, R.; Ribes, M.; Zabala, M.; Gili, JM
Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Growth rate, temporal variability and secondary production were quantified for the Mediterranean gorgonianParamuricea clavataoff Medes Islands, NW Mediterranean. Fifty-four colonies ranging in size between 5 and 860 cm in total length (3–55 cm maximum height) were monitored photographically for 2 years. Growth varied between and within years. Primary branches accounted for 91% of production, though their growth rates were highly variable (on average 23% of branches displayed zero growth). The gross growth rate of primary branches in colonies 20 cm (0·5 cm years-1). On average, net growth of primary branches (0·4 cm year-1) was approximately 60% of positive growth. There was a significant size-specific negative growth effect in which smaller colonies displayed higher rates of loss. Mean growth in colony height was 1·8 cm year-1(range: 0·2–6·4 cm year-1). Based on growth rate data, the largest colonies in the population (55 cm) were around 31 years old. On average, net production for all colonies was 75% of gross production. Gross production was 4·4 g AFDW m-2year-1, the production/biomass value was 0·11, and the turnover time was 9 years. Growth rate and its variation with colony size are discussed within the framework of the life history traits of the species.
modular colonial growth; growth rates; production; size; gorgonian; turnover time; production - biomass; Mediterranean Sea
[ Back ]