Research Technical Report
Investigations of Age and Growth for Three Deep-sea Corals from the Davidson Seamount off Central California
Andrews, A.H., G.M. Cailliet, L.A. Kerr, K.H. Coale, C. Lundstrom, and A.P. DeVogelaere (2005)
In: A. Freiwald and J.M. Roberts (eds), Cold-water Corals and Ecosystems. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, pp 1021-1038.
A recent biological characterization of the Davidson Seamount off central California using a remotely operated vehicle revealed communities rich with deep-sea corals. During this characterization several corals were collected and three colonies were made available for an age and growth study. The colonies examined were identified as bubblegum coral (Paragorgia sp.), bamboo coral (Keratoisis sp.), and precious coral (Corallium sp.). Age was estimated from growth zone counts made in skeletal cross sections. These age estimates were used to estimate growth rates and colony age. Estimated growth rates determined for each species were quite different. The bubblegum coral had a relatively high estimated growth rate, with the precious and bamboo coral estimated as slow growing. These age and growth observations were evaluated relative to published studies on related species and an attempt was made to validate the age and growth estimates with an independent radiometric ageing technique (i.e., lead-210 dating). This approach was not successful for the bubblegum coral, and was successful for the bamboo and precious corals to differing degrees. For the bamboo coral, a minimum colony age of over 200 years was determined. For the precious coral, a linear growth rate of approximately 0.25 cm/yr led to a colony age of about 115 years; however, based on the radial growth rate, an age of up to 200 year is possible.