A catastrophic mass-mortality episode of gorgonians and other organisms in the Ligurian Sea (North-western Mediterranean), summer 1999

Carlo Cerrano, Giorgio Bavestrello, C. Nike Bianchi, Riccardo Cattaneo-Vietti, Simone Bava, Claudia Morganti, Carla Morri, Paola Picco, Giampietro Sara, Stefano Schiaparelli, Antonio Siccardi, Federica Sponga

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Abstract

In the late summer of 1999, an extensive mortality of gorgonians and other epibenthic organisms was observed in the Ligurian Sea (Mediterranean Sea) from the Tuscan Archipelago to Marseille. Quantitative data from Tino Island and Portofino Promontory indicated that the proportion of affected gorgonians ranged from 60% to 100% in populations having a density of 9-27.8 colonies m-2, suggesting that millions of sea fans died along the coast of Liguria. This mass mortality episode coincided with a sudden increase of sea water temperature down to more than 50 m depth. Laboratory analyses showed that the colonies stressed by high temperature also underwent extensive attack by microorganisms (protozoans and fungi), which are interpreted as opportunistic pathogens.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284 - 293
Number of pages10
JournalEcology Letters
Volume3
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Cerrano, C., Bavestrello, G., Bianchi, C. N., Cattaneo-Vietti, R., Bava, S., Morganti, C., Morri, C., Picco, P., Sara, G., Schiaparelli, S., Siccardi, A., & Sponga, F. (2000). A catastrophic mass-mortality episode of gorgonians and other organisms in the Ligurian Sea (North-western Mediterranean), summer 1999. Ecology Letters, 3(4), 284 - 293. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1461-0248.2000.00152.x