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Research Technical Report

Determining the Age and Growth of Three Species of Deep-Sea Coral from the Davidson Seamount off Central California

Andrews, A.H., L.A. Kerr, G.M. Cailliet, K.H. Coale, and A.P. DeVogelaere (2003)

Oral presentation at the Deep Sea Coral Symposium, Erlangen, Germany


Recent investigations of the Davidson Seamount off central California using a remotely operated vehicle have revealed communities rich with deep-sea corals. During these observations several corals were collected and three colonies were made available for an age and growth study. The colonies examined in this study were identified as bubblegum coral (Paragorgia sp.), precious pink coral (Corallium sp.), and bamboo coral (Keratoisis sp.). Age was estimated from growth zone counts made in skeletal cross sections. These age estimates were used to estimate growth rates, and ultimately colony age and perhaps longevity. To validate the growth rate estimates from growth zone counts a radiometric method called lead-210 dating was used to determine an independent growth rate for each colony. Agreement of growth rates derived from growth zone counts and lead-210 dating were used as an indicator of age estimate accuracy. Growth rates determined for each species were quite different. The bubblegum coral had a relatively high growth rate, with the precious pink coral being somewhat intermediate and the bamboo coral being the slowest growing.

Conference Proceedings Article:

Andrews, A.H., G.M. Cailliet, L.A. Kerr, K.H. Coale, C. Lundstrom, and A. DeVogelaere. 2005. Investigations of age and growth for three deep-sea corals from the Davidson Seamount off central California. In: A. Freiwald and J.M. Roberts (eds), Cold-water Corals and Ecosystems. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, pp 1021-1038.

Reviewed: April 11, 2024
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

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