The main goal of ecologists is nowadays to foster habitat and species conservation. Life-history tables and Leslie-Lewis transition matrices of population growth can be powerful tools suitable for the study of age-structured over harvested and/or endangered species dynamics. Red coral (Corallium rubrum L 1758) is a modular anthozoan endemic to the Mediterranean Sea. This slow growing, long lived species has been harvested since ancient times. In the last decades harvesting pressure increased and the overall Mediterranean yield Moreover, mass mortality (putatively-linked to global warming) recently affected some coastal populations of this species. reduced by (2)/(3). Red coral populations are discrete genetic units, gonochoric, composed by several overlapping generations and provided of a discrete (annual) reproduction. A population of this precious octocoral was studied in detail and its static life table was compiled. In order to simulate the trends overtime of the population under different environmental conditions and fishing pressures, a discrete, non-linear model, based on Leslie-Lewis transition matrix, was applied to the demographic data. In this model a bell-shaped curve, based on experimental data, representing the dependence of recruitment on adult colonies density was included. On these bases the stability of the population under different density, reproduction and mortality figures was analysed and simulations of the population trends overtime were set out. Some simulations were also carried out applying to the studied population the mortality values measured during the anomalous mass mortality event which really affected some red coral populations in 1999. The population under study showed high stability and a strong resilience capability, surviving to a 61% reduction of density, to a 27.7% reduction of reproduction rate and to an unselective harvesting affecting 95% of the reproductive colonies.
|Titolo:||Population dynamics and conservation biology of the over-exploited Mediterranean red coral|
|Autori:||G., Santangelo; L., Bramanti; Iannelli, Mimmo|
|Titolo del periodico:||JOURNAL OF THEORETICAL BIOLOGY|
|Anno di pubblicazione:||2007|
|Numero e parte del fascicolo:||3|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1016/j.jtbi.2006.08.027|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||03.1 Articolo su rivista (Journal article)|