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Ages and growth rates of some deep-sea gorgonian and antipatharian corals of Newfoundland and Labrador

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Using bomb-14C dating and growth ring counting methods, we calculate life spans and growth rates of six species of deep-sea corals collected at depths of between 400and 900m from the continental slope of Newfoundland and Labrador. Bamboo corals (Acanella arbuscula, Keratoisis ornata) and antipatharians (Stauropathes arctica) secrete concentric growth rings in their axial skeletons, which were proven to form annually for K. ornata and S. arctica. These species had the lowest radial growth rates of 33± 11to 75± 11m·year–1. Primnoa resedaeformis and Paramuricea spp. had higher radial growth rates of 83± 6to 215± 37m·year–1. Paragorgia arborea had the highest radial growth rate of 830± 120m·year–1. Axial growth rates ranged from 0.56± 0.05cm·year–1 for a specimen of Paramuricea spp. to 2.61± 0.45cm·year–1 for a specimen of Primnoa resedaeformis. Life spans ranged from 18± 4years for a live-collected P. resedaeformis to 200± 30years for a subfossil specimen of K. ornata. Because all of the corals were from heavily fished areas, it is likely that age distributions are biased towards smaller and younger colonies. Recovery of deep-sea corals from fishing-induced damage will take decades to centuries.

L’utilisation de méthodes de datation basées sur le 14C des essais nucléaires et le dénombrement des anneaux de croissance nous a permis de déterminer la durée de vie et les taux de croissance de six espèces de coraux marins d’eau profonde récoltées sur la pente continentale de Terre-Neuve et du Labrador, à des profondeurs de 400m à 900m. Les coraux bambous (Acanella arbuscula, Keratoisis ornata) et antipathariens (Stauropathes arctica) sécrètent des anneaux de croissance concentriques sur leur squelette axial et il est démontré que chez K. ornata et S. arctica ces anneaux se forment annuellement. Ces espèces possèdent les taux de croissance radiale les plus bas, de 33 ± 11 m·an–1 à 75 ± 11 m·an–1. Primnoa resedaeformis et Paramuricea spp. ont des taux de croissance radiale plus élevés, 83 ± 6 m·an–1 à 215 ± 37m·an–1. Paragorgia arborea présente le taux de croissance radiale le plus élevé, 830 ± 120 m·an–1. Les taux de croissance axiale varient de 0,56 ± 0,05 cm·an–1 chez un spécimen de Paramuricea spp. à 2,61 ± 0,45 cm·an-1 chez un spécimen de P. resedaeformis. Les durées de vie vont de 18 ± 4 années chez un P. resedaeformis récolté vivant à 200 ± 30 ans pour un spécimen subfossile de K. ornata. Puisque tous les coraux proviennent de régions soumises à une pêche intensive, il est vraisemblable que les distributions d’âge favorisent les colonies plus petites et plus jeunes. La récupération des coraux marins d’eau profonde des dommages infligés par la pêche prendra des décennies et même des siècles.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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