Monthly variations in calix growth, polyp tissue, and density banding of the Mediterranean scleractinian Cladocora caespitosa (L.)

A. Peirano, M. Abbate, G. Cerrati, V. Difesca, C. Peroni, R. Rodolfo-Metalpa

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Monthly skeletal growth of the scleractinian, temperate coral Cladocora caespitosa (L.) from the Ligurian Sea (NW Mediterranean) was analysed for a period of 1 year and compared with seawater parameters. Measurements on corallite sections and on X-ray images showed that the formation of the high-density (HD) band and two dissepiments are favoured by fall-winter conditions, characterised by high quantities of rain, rough seas, and cold seawater. In summer, when the low-density (LD) band is formed, the corallites stretch upward and form one new dissepiment and one deep calix, where the polyps recede almost completely in August. These findings confirmed the adaptation of the temperate coral to winter environmental conditions, characterised by low irradiance and high availability of nutrients and food particles resuspended from bottom sediments. On the contrary, the high seawater temperature, irradiance, and ammonia contents stressed the coral in August and, when they persist in September, may cause the onset of mortality events. © Springer-Verlag 2005.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404 - 409
Number of pages6
JournalCoral Reefs
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aquatic Science

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