Growth and branching patterns of Lophelia pertusa (Scleractinia) from the North Sea

S. E. Gass, Murray Roberts

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    22 Citations (Scopus)


    Lophelia pertusa, a cosmopolitan cold-water coral, offers potential for new palaeoclimate proxies. This study investigated its skeletal growth patterns to aid in this development. Corallite characteristics (calyx diameter, height, thecal width and banding) of L. pertusa sampled from oil platforms in the northern North Sea were examined. The mean distance between daughter polyps along a growth axis (27.4 ± 5mm, SD) was equivalent to the estimated annual growth rate; hence, the polyps bud once a year. The majority of growth occurred in the first year when the characteristic trumpet shape of a corallite was formed, while the thecal wall thickened more consistently. Further examination of two polyps showed a dark growth band and centres of calcification along the full length of the inner theca, which represents early skeletal growth. Skeletal sampling adjacent to this area along sequential polyps shows promise as an annual chronology in these North Sea corals. Copyright © 2010 Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)831-835
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


    • cold-water coral
    • coral growth
    • deep-sea coral
    • palaeo-oceanography


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