Predicting Coral Gardens habitats in the Southwest coast of Portugal

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June 11, 2013

Coral gardens are vulnerable and sensitive habitats protected by the OSPAR Commission. Knowledge on their distribution is essential to provide protection and integration in marine protected areas and also for marine spatial planning actions.

In the southwest coast of Portugal deep water coral gardens (50-80m) are characterized by several gorgonians species such as Paramuricea clavata (Risso, 1826), Eunicella verrucosa (Pallas, 1766) and Eunicella labiata Thomson, 1927, occasionally Leptogorgia sarmentosa (Esper, 1789), Leptogorgia lusitanica (Stiasny 1937) and Alcyonium acaule Marion, 1878. Species of true corals (Scleractinia), Dendrophyllia ramea7 (Linnaeus, 1758) and Dendrophyllia cf. cornigera8 (Lamarck, 1816) are less common.

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