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Free Content Distribution and Structure of Deep-Water Oculina Varicosa Coral Reefs off Central Eastern Florida

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Data on the distribution and growth-form of the scleractinian Oculina varicosa were compiled from 135 submersible dives with the Johnson-Sea-Link submersibles and 57 dredge and trawl records by the R/V Gosnold and R/V Aquarius. A deep-water form of O. varicosa, lacking zooxanthellae, was found in depths of 50 to 100 m off central eastern Florida. These colonies are arborescent with highly anastomosed, irregular dendritic branches. Over 50 sites were located at which living colonies of O. varicosa from 0.25 to 2 m diameter occur either singly or as sparsely scattered groups. Nine areas were found with massive thickets of contiguous colonies up to 2 m in height. Extensive banks of Oculina thickets were found at five locations. The banks have a relief of 17 to 24 m and steep slopes of 30–45°, especially on the south side which faces into the Florida Current. The structure of these thickets and banks is very similar to deep-water Lophelia prolifera banks. Temperatures on the Oculina banks ranged from 7.5 to 26.5°C and had a yearly mean of 15°C.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 1980

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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