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Title: The ecophysiology of the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa (Scleractinia)
Author: Dodds, Lyndsey A.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3427 0023
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of the Highlands and Islands
Date of Award: 2007
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Lophelia pertusa is the world’s most common and widespread framework-forming cold-water coral. It forms deep-water coral reefs and carbonate mounts supporting diverse animal communities on the continental shelf and on seamounts. Cold-water corals are found throughout most of the world’s oceans at depths of around 200 to 1000 meters. Unlike their tropical counterparts, cold-water corals do not contain symbiotic algae. These recently discovered ecosystems have been damaged by deep-sea fishing and are threatened by climate change. Despite this, very little is known about the ecophysiology of L. pertusa and its likely response to environmental changes. The aims of this research were to investigate the physiology of L. pertusa and relate this to its environment. In particular, this research focused on the respiratory physiology, growth and lipid signature of L. pertusa. This is the first study to investigate the physiology of L. pertusa and relate it to aspects of its natural environment, including temperature and oxygen availability. Results suggest that L. pertusa has slow physiological rates that vary geographically and may be dependent on food sources. Lipid analysis suggested a strong link to surface production and preferential feeding on copepods. It appears that L. pertusa is sensitive to small temperature changes and is at least partially limited in distribution by oxygen levels. This environment is likely to be threatened by changes in seawater temperature, ocean acidification, alteration of food webs and water masses as well as destructive fishing impacts. The results of this research provide vital information that will underpin future research and allow us to predict the effects of anthropogenic impacts on L. pertusa.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: NERC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available