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Title: The deepest known occurrence of the precious red coral Corallium Rubrum (L. 1758) in the Mediterranean Sea
Authors: Taviani, Marco
Friewald, Andre
Beuck, Lydia
Angeletti, Lorenzo
Remia, Alessandro
Vertino, Agostina
Dimech, Mark
Schembri, Patrick J.
Keywords: Corals -- Mediterranean Sea
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service
Citation: Taviani, M., Friewald, A., Beuck, L., Angeletti, L., Remia, A., Vertino, A.,Dimech, M., & Schembri, P. J. (2010). The deepest known occurrence of the precious red coral Corallium Rubrum (L. 1758) in the Mediterranean Sea. International Workshop on Red Coral Science, Management, and Trade: Lessons from the Mediterranean, Naples. 87-93.
Abstract: An initiative for the worldwide conservation of gorgonian corals of the family Coralliidae (Anthozoa, Gorgonacea) was attempted at the 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties of CITES at The Hague (CoP14) through a proposal to place members of this family on Appendix- II of the Convention (Anonymous 2007; Pala 2007; WWF 2007). Ultimately the proposal was defeated in a secret ballot, although the decision was taken to organize topical workshops devoted to upgrading knowledge of precious corals, which are all grouped in the two extant genera Corallium and Paracorallium. This call resulted in two workshops focusing on Pacific and Mediterranean precious corals, held in 2009 in Hong Kong and Naples, respectively (IAPPCS 2009; Anonymous 2009). In the meantime the request for inclusion of the Coralliidae in Appendix-II of CITES is in all likelihood going to be proposed for consideration at the forthcoming CoP15 in Qatar, scheduled for the year 2010. Corallium rubrum colonizes a variety of sublittoral habitats generally between a few meters depth down to 120 m in the Mediterranean Sea and Eastern Atlantic Ocean (e.g. Bayer 1964; Carpine and Grasshof 1975; Zibrowius et al. 1984; Chintiroglou et al. 1989; Cattaneo-Vietti and Cicogna 1993; Abbiati et al. 1993; Garrabou and Harmelin 2002; Torrens et al. 2008; Rossi et al. 2008; Tsounis et al. 2006). The bright red calcitic axis of this species has been prized in the jewelry trade from antiquity to the present day (Cattaneo-Vietti and Cicogna 1993; Tsounis et al. 2007). Although far from being close to extinction, a decline in shallow-water populations of this widespread taxon has nevertheless been observed, giving rise to some concerns about its management (Santangelo and Abbiati 2001; Santangelo et al. 2003; Tsounis et al. 2007). The present paper is a contribution on novel aspects of the ecology, biology and biogeography of Corallium rubrum based on the recent discovery of previously uncharted deep-water populations in the bathyal zone of the Mediterranean Sea.
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