GROWTH OF SEA FAN GORGONIA VENTALINA (LINNAEUS, 1758) (CNIDARIA: GORGONIIDAE) IN THE SANTA MARTA AREA, COLOMBIAN CARIBBEAN
As a contribution to the biological knowledge about the sea fan Gorgonia ventalina and the use of this information as a tool to generate conservation and management strategies for this threatened species, a study about its annual growth rate, in different reef areas in Santa Marta and the National Natural Park Tayrona in the Colombian Caribbean took place. Manual measurements of 35 colonies were analyzed and images of 11 colonies were recorded in the beginning and in the end of the field stage. The annual growth rate varies among colonies and areas where measurements were taken. The average annual growth rate obtained with both of the methods was high and oscillated between 7.6 and 8.1 cm/year in height and between 6.9 and 8.3 cm/year wide. The total area of the colonies increased 246.1 cm2/year. These high rates suggest that the study area has the ideal features for the optimal development of the species. Eventhough, these features may be limited by environmental, biological and anthropic changes.
Growth; Sea fans; Gorgonia ventalina; Santa Marta; Colombian Caribbean
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