Differences of response to thermal stress in Mediterranean gorgonians

In a new article we have studied the difference of response of the yellow gorgonian Eunicella cavolini to thermal stress between depths. We demonstrated the occurrence of a very different response between depths at this local scale, with lower thermotolerance of deep individuals. Strongly thermotolerant individuals were observed at 20 m with necrosis appearing at higher temperatures than observed in situ. On the basis of nine microsatellite loci, we showed that these marked thermotolerance differences occur within a single population. This suggests the importance of acclimatization processes in adaptation to these different depths. In addition, differences between replicates demonstrated the occurrence of a variability of response between fragments from the same colony with the possibility of an interaction with a tank effect.

These results are important as they underline the need to take into account the diversity of response to thermal stress inside species if we want to understand what could be their future facing climate change.

More details here:


Highly contrasted responses of Mediterranean octocorals to climate change along a depth gradient
I. D. Pivotto, D. Nerini, M. Masmoudi, H. Kara, L. Chaoui, D. Aurelle

Royal Society Open Science, 2015

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