Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Marine protected areas conserve Mediterranean red coral

Date:
May 11, 2010
Source:
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Summary:
A team of Spanish and French researchers has undertaken a pioneer analysis of red coral populations in the oldest Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean and the impact that fishing activity has had. Results show that MPAs are a guarantee for conserving this species.

Red coral.
Credit: Joaquim Garrabou

A team of Spanish and French researchers has undertaken a pioneer analysis of red coral populations in the oldest Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in the Mediterranean and the impact that fishing activity has had. Results show that MPAs are a guarantee for conserving this species.

Mediterranean red coral (Corallium rubrum) has been highly valued for jewellery since ancient times. But intensive fishing, particularly in shallow waters, has transformed populations and hindered the recovery of this species along the Mediterranean coastline, where the colonies of coral at depths of less than 50 metres are now very small. Fishing and now climate change threaten the persistence of this slowing growing species which also boasts slow population dynamics.

A team of scientists has analysed the three oldest Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean -- Banyuls, Carry-le-Rouet and Scandola, off the island of Corsica -- to quantify the impact of human activity and ascertain how efficient MPAs are in conserving red coral, as the latter are "a vital tool" when it comes to observing the evolution of populations in the absence of fishing.

"The problem with studying a species that grows so slowly is that populations need to be monitored over long periods of time to guarantee sufficient data are obtained to estimate how populations have evolved," says Cristina Linares, the author of the article and a researcher from the Department of Ecology at the University of Barcelona.

The study, which was published recently in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series, shows that MPAs are "a slow but effective tool for conserving Mediterranean red coral populations," Joaquim Garrabou, co-author of the article and a researcher at the Institute of Marine Sciences (CSIC) declared.

According to the scientists, Mediterranean red coral cannot be considered an endangered species. This opinion is justified by the extensive distribution of dense populations all over the Mediterranean Basin and the fact that some colonies with basal diameters of less than two millimetres are now sexually fertile.

Three Decades of Protection

The researchers chose these three Marine Protected Areas because they are 30 years old. They forecast the structure of red coral populations when they were created, and three decades later, they have returned to repeat the process.

According to Linares, "these MPAs are home to extraordinarily large colonies, at depths of less than 50 metres and also deep-dwelling populations, in comparison to the populations studied previously." This confirms that MPAs are effective as measures to conserve this species, "providing, as is the case in these three MPAs, that they are well managed and that constant surveillance guarantees the protection of this species," the authors state.

"But the forecast for the future of populations reveals that 30 years of protection are not enough to allow colonies to reach the size of those observed in the 1960s (with diameters of around 45 mm)," Garrabou underlines.

Linares warns that if the colonies continue to diminish, the resilience of this species (its ability to absorb disturbances without suffering changes) will be affected. "The lack of large colonies has significant implications for future of populations, because it is these colonies that contribute to reproduction and, therefore, the persistence of these populations," the researcher says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C Linares, O Bianchimani, O Torrents, C Marschal, P Drap, J Garrabou. Marine Protected Areas and the conservation of long-lived marine invertebrates: the Mediterranean red coral. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 2010; 402: 69 DOI: 10.3354/meps08436

Cite This Page:

FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. "Marine protected areas conserve Mediterranean red coral." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100511102115.htm>.
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. (2010, May 11). Marine protected areas conserve Mediterranean red coral. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100511102115.htm
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. "Marine protected areas conserve Mediterranean red coral." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100511102115.htm (accessed August 2, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pyrenees Orphan Bear Cub Gets Brand New Home

Pyrenees Orphan Bear Cub Gets Brand New Home

AFP (Aug. 1, 2014) The discovery of a bear cub in the Pyrenees mountains made headlines in April 2014. Despire several attempts to find the animal's mother, the cub remained alone. Now, the Pyrenees Conservation Foundation has constructed an enclosure. Duration: 00:31 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rare Whale Fossil Pulled from Calif. Backyard

Rare Whale Fossil Pulled from Calif. Backyard

AP (Aug. 1, 2014) A rare whale fossil has been pulled from a Southern California backyard. The 16- to 17-million-year-old baleen whale fossil is one of about 20 baleen whale fossils known to exist. (Aug. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins