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First record of Caryophyllia smithii in the central southern North Sea: artificial reefs affect range extensions of sessile benthic species

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 September 2015

Joop W.P. Coolen*
Affiliation:
Department of EcosystemsIMARES Wageningen UR – Institute for Marine Resource & Ecosystem Studies, P.O. Box 167, 1790 AD Den Burg, The Netherlands Wageningen University, Chair group Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management, Droevendaalsesteeg 3a, 6708 PD Wageningen, The Netherlands Stichting Duik de Noordzee schoon, Duyvenvoordestraat 35, Monster, The Netherlands
Wouter Lengkeek
Affiliation:
Stichting Duik de Noordzee schoon, Duyvenvoordestraat 35, Monster, The Netherlands Bureau Waardenburg, P.O. Box 365, 4100 AJ Culemborg, The Netherlands
Gareth Lewis
Affiliation:
Stichting Duik de Noordzee schoon, Duyvenvoordestraat 35, Monster, The Netherlands
Oscar G. Bos
Affiliation:
Department of EcosystemsIMARES Wageningen UR – Institute for Marine Resource & Ecosystem Studies, P.O. Box 167, 1790 AD Den Burg, The Netherlands
Lodewijk Van Walraven
Affiliation:
Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, P.O. Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg Texel, The Netherlands
Udo Van Dongen
Affiliation:
Stichting Duik de Noordzee schoon, Duyvenvoordestraat 35, Monster, The Netherlands
*
Correspondence should be addressed to: J.W.P. Coolen, Department of Ecosystems, IMARES Wageningen UR, P.O. Box 167, 1790 AD Den Burg, The Netherlands email: joop.coolen@wur.nl
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Abstract

In the North Sea, observations of the solitary coral Caryophyllia smithii are mostly limited to the north-east coast of the United Kingdom including the Shetland and Orkney islands. To date, C. smithii has not been reported from far offshore locations in the North Sea south of 57.7°N. Distribution of this species appears limited by the restricted availability of natural hard substrata in the central southern North Sea. There are, however, many artificial hard substrata in this area in the form of shipwrecks and offshore oil and gas installations. These may provide stepping stones for C. smithii to expand its distribution. Here we report the first sighting of C. smithii in the central southern North Sea on an unidentified wreck on the Dogger Bank. This is the first offshore observation of any hard coral in the central southern North Sea.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 2015 

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