Map showing the global distribution of three scleractinian species of coral

Fig.6. Known global distribution of three reef building species of cold-water corals. (Freiwald et al. 2004)

CWCs are found at both high and low latitudes, but are restricted by temperature at higher latitudes to depths between 50-1000m. At lower latitudes where they are beneath warm water masses they can be found around 4000m down (Roberts et al. 2006), the record being 6328m for Scleractinians (Keller 1976). It is worth noting that most research has been conducted in the North Atlantic skewing these results. A lot more reefs are expected to be discovered in the near future, and are appearing now, this link shows a video of a new L.pertusa reef New Reef found in 2009, the Gulf of Mexico.

The Scleractinians are the most widely distributed (figure 6), with areas of most diversity including seas bordered by the Philippines, New Guinea The Antilles and the North-western Indian Ocean (Rogers 1999, Roberts et al. 2006). However the full extent of the distribution of L.pertusa is still unknown. It has been found most frequently throughout the Atlantic, including the Mediterranean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Cairns (1984) and Zibrowius (1973) also reported findings in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

M.oculata has a very similar distribution to L.pertusa but is more dominant around Australasia (Freiwald 2004). Solenosmilia variabilis is again similar to L. pertusa but it is absent in the Northeastern Atlantic, and Antarctica (Cairns, 2007). O.varicosa, G.dumosa and E.profunda seem to be restricted to narrow regions such as Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, the southern hemisphere mostly around New Zealand (Probert 1999), but it is poorly known, and the Western Atlantic between the Antilles to Massachusetts.

Leave a Reply