The noble red coral, Corallium rubrum has been harvested for millennia in the area of Sicily Channel. In the last quarter of the 19th century, the discovery of three huge banks of sub-fossil red coral (the so called Sciacca coral), at depths ranging from 150m to 200m, led to a real “coral rush”. About 2,000 vessels were involved, yielding great social changes. These thanatocoenoses were formed by red coral detached from the flanks of submarine volcanic edifices, creating impressive formations in limited areas. The origin of these deposits represents a unicum in the Mediterranean Sea that has been much discussed, but still remains unresolved. The general aim of the project is to perform a comprehensive multidisciplinary study of this enigmatic area (geomorphology, volcanology, biodiversity, demography, ecosystem ecology, age determination and human impact) leading to a detailed description of these formations. The final goal of our research will be to reconstruct the processes that created the “Sciacca coral””, including coral deposition timing and mechanisms involved in accumulation as well as the natural occurrence of volcanological, tectonic and hydrothermal-related processes responsible for the coral tanatocenoses and possible human impacts to build conservation plans.

Past and present red coral communities and submarine volcanic emissions in the Sicily Channel: a biodiversity treasure to preserve

Costantini Federica
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Abstract

The noble red coral, Corallium rubrum has been harvested for millennia in the area of Sicily Channel. In the last quarter of the 19th century, the discovery of three huge banks of sub-fossil red coral (the so called Sciacca coral), at depths ranging from 150m to 200m, led to a real “coral rush”. About 2,000 vessels were involved, yielding great social changes. These thanatocoenoses were formed by red coral detached from the flanks of submarine volcanic edifices, creating impressive formations in limited areas. The origin of these deposits represents a unicum in the Mediterranean Sea that has been much discussed, but still remains unresolved. The general aim of the project is to perform a comprehensive multidisciplinary study of this enigmatic area (geomorphology, volcanology, biodiversity, demography, ecosystem ecology, age determination and human impact) leading to a detailed description of these formations. The final goal of our research will be to reconstruct the processes that created the “Sciacca coral””, including coral deposition timing and mechanisms involved in accumulation as well as the natural occurrence of volcanological, tectonic and hydrothermal-related processes responsible for the coral tanatocenoses and possible human impacts to build conservation plans.
2019
Costantini Federica
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/680284
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