The biology of Lophelia pertusa (Linnaeus 1758) and other deep-water reef-forming corals and impacts from human activities

TitleThe biology of Lophelia pertusa (Linnaeus 1758) and other deep-water reef-forming corals and impacts from human activities
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsRogers, A. D.
Refereed DesignationRefereed
JournalInternational Review of Hydrobiology
Volume84
Issue4
Pagination315-406
ISSN1434-2944
Abstract

Over the last twenty years, human exploitation has begun to have an impact in the deep sea, especially in the upper bathyal zone. This has mainly taken the form of deep-sea fishing but more recently oil exploration has extended beyond the continental shelf. Deep-water coral reefs occur in the upper bathyal zone throughout the world. These structures, however, are poorly studied with respect to their occurrence, biology and the diversity of the communities associated with them. In the North-East Atlantic the coral Lophelia pertusa has frequently been recorded. The present review examines the current knowledge on L. pertusa and discusses similarities between its biology and that of other deep-water, reef-forming, corals. It is concluded that L. pertusa is a reef-forming coral that has a highly diverse associated fauna. Associated diversity is compared with that of tropical shallow-water reefs. Such a highly diverse fauna may be shared with other deep-water, reef-forming, corals though as yet many of these are poorly studied. The main potential threats to L. pertusa in the North-East Atlantic are considered to be natural phenomena, such as slope failures and changes in ocean circulation and anthropogenic impacts such as deep-sea fishing and oil exploration. The existing and potential impacts of these activities on L. pertusa are discussed. Deep-sea fishing is also known to have had a significant impact on deep-water reefs in other parts of the world