Database of sea fans spatial distribution in the northwestern Mediterranean sea

Date 2022
Temporal extent 2013 -2019
Author(s) Guizien KatellORCID1, Bramanti LorenzoORCID1, Roca Jean-Claude2, Hesse Bruno2, Blouet SylvainORCID3, Charbonnel Eric4, Payrot Jérôme5, Ferrari Bruno6, Bricout Romain1, Lescure Lyvia1, Chere Edouard3, Hartmann Virginie5, Rivoal Ronan5, Planque Jean-François5, Cadene Frédéric5, Laffon Jean-François5, Monin Marie4, Bretton Olivier4, Dumontier Marc6, Labrune CélineORCID1, Fanfard Sandrine1, Cornette Florence7
Affiliation(s) 1 : CNRS-Sorbonne Université, Laboratoire d’Ecogéochimie des Environnements Benthiques, LECOB, Banyuls sur Mer, France
2 : CNRS-Sorbonne Université, Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls Sur Mer, Banyuls sur Mer, France
3 : Ville d'Agde, Aire marine protégée de la côte agathoise, Agde, France
4 : Syndicat mixte du Parc Marin de la Côte Bleue, Carry-le-Rouet, France
5 : Conseil Départemental des Pyrénées-Orientales, Réserve Naturelle Marine de Cerbère-Banyuls, Banyuls sur Mer, France
6 : Office Français de la Biodiversité, Parc naturel marin du Golfe du Lion, Argelès-sur-Mer, France
7 : Ifremer, SG2M-LGPMM, La Tremblade, France
DOI 10.17882/86176
Publisher SEANOE
Note Katell Guizien designed the study and organized the logistics of all field works. Lorenzo Bramanti supervised all scuba diving activities and trained all participants to gorgonian identification. Jean-Claude Roca, Bruno Hesse, Sylvain Blouet, Eric Charbonnel, Jérôme Payrot, Bruno Ferrari, Romain Bricout, Lyvia Lescure, Edouard Cheré, Virginie Hartmann, Ronan Rivoal, Jean-François Planque, Frédéric Cadène, Jean-François Laffon, Marie Monin, Olivier Bretton, Marc Dumontier, Céline Larbune, Sandrine Fanfard, and Florence Cornette performed species count in scuba diving.
Keyword(s) Gorgonians, spatial distribution, population density, NW Mediterranean Sea

Sea fans (order : Alcyonacea) are the most remarkable and easily identifiable species of the subtidal hard substrate communities (Gili and Ros, 1985). From an ecological point of view, sea fans play an essential role (Gili and Coma, 1998) by increasing the biomass and the diversity of hard substrates (Mitchell et al, 1992; Ballesteros, 2006) via an umbrella species role providing habitat for small epifauna and a refuge for many fish (Ross and Quatrini, 2007). When their density is high enough, they form animal forests (sensu Rossi et al 2017) and become engineering species by modifying the level of turbulence and therefore of sedimentation of propagules in the benthic boundary layer (Chamberlain and Graus, 1975). In the shallow rocky habitats of the Mediterranean, five species of sea fans dominate: the white gorgonian Eunicella singularis (Esper, 1791), the orange gorgonian Leptogorgia sarmentosa (Esper, 1789), the yellow gorgonian Eunicella cavolinii (Koch, 1887), the red gorgonian Paramuricea clavata (Risso, 1826), and the red coral Corallium rubrum (Linnaeus, 1758). Some of these species, characterized by long life span, have been included in the management plans of the Gulf of Lion Marine Protected Areas, with surveys for the monitoring of the demographic structure of E. Singularis (Réserve Naturelle Marine de Cerbère-Banyuls, Aire Marine Protégée Agathoise) and C. rubrum (Réserve Naturelle Marine de Cerbère-Banyuls, Parc Marin de la Côte Bleue). In parallel with these management-related surveys, some scientific studies on the demographic structure and ecology of P. clavata, E. singularis and C. rubrum, with the aim of documenting mass mortality events (Cerrano et al. al., 2000, Garrabou et al., 2001) have been undertaken in the Parc Marin de la Côte Bleue, in the Parc National de Port-Cros, along the Côte Vermeille and Cap de Creus coast and in the Cinque Terre National Park (Garrabou and Harmelin, 2002, Torrents et al., 2005 ; Linares et al. 2008 Linares et al., 2010 ; Santangelo et al., 2011; Gori et al., 2011a ; Gori et al. 2011b; Rossi et al., 2008). The present database gathers two extensive inventory of sea fans populations performed between 2013 and 2015 in the Gulf of Lion and between 2018 and 2019 in the Ligurian Sea.

The same protocol was applied to estimate the population density of the five species in 585 stations. The 585 stations were defined a priori on a regular mesh mapping the main hard-bottom substrate units of the Gulf of Lion (Côte Bleue, Plateau des Aresquiers, Plateau du Cap d'Agde, Cap Leucate, Côte Vermeille), and surrounding the ports of Toulon, La Spezia and Bastia (Figure 1). The spacing between stations was varied from 100m to 800 m according to bathymetry steepness. Each station was geo-referenced from the surface and located on the sea bed with a mooring. Counts of individuals of the five species were made by scuba divers trained to species identification in four quadrats (1m x 1m), positionned at 5 m from the mooring along the sea bed, in the four cardinal directions. In total, the sampling required 1500 dives.


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Licence CC-BY-NC-SA
Acknowledgements This study was funded by the French National Program LITEAU IV of the Ministère de l’Ecologie et de l’Environnement Durable under project RocConnect - Connectivité des habitats rocheux fragmentés du Golfe du Lion (PI, K. Guizien, Project Number 12-MUTS-LITEAU-1-CDS-013) and by EC Interreg Marittimo program under project IMPACT – Impatto Portuale su aree marine protette: Azioni Cooperative Transfrontaliere (PI, M. Magaldi; Ecology Task Leader, K. Guizien; CUP B12F17000370005).
Sensor metadata

Individual bigger than 2 cm were counted in four quadrats (1m x 1m) by direct visual census in scuba diving. The four quadrats in each station are labeled North, South, East and West.

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63 KB XLS, XLSX Quality controlled data Access on demand until 2024-01-01
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Guizien Katell, Bramanti Lorenzo, Roca Jean-Claude, Hesse Bruno, Blouet Sylvain, Charbonnel Eric, Payrot Jérôme, Ferrari Bruno, Bricout Romain, Lescure Lyvia, Chere Edouard, Hartmann Virginie, Rivoal Ronan, Planque Jean-François, Cadene Frédéric, Laffon Jean-François, Monin Marie, Bretton Olivier, Dumontier Marc, Labrune Céline, Fanfard Sandrine, Cornette Florence (2022). Database of sea fans spatial distribution in the northwestern Mediterranean sea. SEANOE.