Last glacial deep-water corals from the Red Sea
The present Red Sea deep-sea benthos appears impoverished with respect to the adjacent Indian mother-ocean as a result of severe filters, represented by an extremely shallow sill, high salinity, and high temperature. Today, the Red Sea basin hosts a still poorly known deep-water coral fauna of Indian Ocean affinity. During the Pleistocene, conditions were at times suitable as proven by the findings of last glacial corals (Javania insignis Duncan, 1876, and Trochocyathus virgatus sensu Marenzeller, 1907 (not Alcock, 1902), and, possibly, Guynia annulata Duncan, 1872) from seamounts in the north-central part of the basin. A subfossil J. insignis from the Coral Sea peak has been U-series-dated at 26,590 ± 120 yrs. This represents the first documentation regarding the presence of deep-water corals in the Red Sea during the late Pleistocene and predates the postulated basin-wide extinction of normal marine biota that took place at the Last Glacial Maximum.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: November 1, 2007
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