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Cold-water coral reefs thriving under hypoxia
Hebbeln, D.; Wienberg, C.; Dullo, W.-C.; Freiwald, A.; Mienis, F.; Orejas, C.; Titschack, J. (2020). Cold-water coral reefs thriving under hypoxia. Coral Reefs 39(4): 853-859.

Additional data:
In: Coral Reefs. Springer: Berlin; Heidelberg; New York. ISSN 0722-4028; e-ISSN 1432-0975, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Desmophyllum pertusum (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    Cold-water corals; Lophelia pertusa; Hypoxia; Adaptation; Global change

Authors  Top 
  • Hebbeln, D.
  • Wienberg, C.
  • Dullo, W.-C.
  • Freiwald, A., more
  • Mienis, F., more
  • Orejas, C.
  • Titschack, J.


    Reefs formed by scleractinian cold-water corals represent unique biodiversity hot spots in the deep sea, preferring aphotic water depths of200–1000 m. The distribution of the most prominent reef-building species Lophelia pertusa is controlled by various environmental factors including dissolved oxygen concentrations and temperature. Consequently, the expected ocean deoxygenation and warming triggered by human-induced global change are considered as a serious threat to cold-water coral reefs. Here, we present results on recently discovered reefs in the SE Atlantic, where L. pertusa thrives in hypoxic and rather warm waters. This sheds new light on its capability to adapt to extreme conditions, which is facilitated by high surface ocean productivity, resulting in extensive food supply. Putting our data in an Atlantic-wide perspective clearly demonstrates L. pertusa’s ability to develop population-specific adaptations, which are up to now hardly considered in assessing its present and future distributions.

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