Distribution

Over 250 years ago, (Scleractinian) Lophelia pertusa (Linnaeus, 1758) was first found in Trondheim Fjord, Norway. L. pertusa are the most abundant CWCs, widely distributed around the global oceanic waters (figure 4).They have also been recorded in every ocean except for the polar seas (Brooke, 2014). These animals have been found along the European Atlantic continental margin from Norway to south-west Ireland, Gilbartar Straits, off west Africa, and in the western North and South Atlantic (Rogers, 1999; Roberts et al, 2003; Friewald et al, 2004). They have also been recorded from the Mediterranean (Ageletti, 2009), the Indian and Pacific oceans (Rogers 1999; Freiwald et al, 2004).

The Canadian margin of the Atlantic Ocean inhabits at least 45 species of CWCs (Cogswell et al., 2009). Cold water corals in the North East Atlantic are structured by L. pertusa. These corals formed during interglacial periods but were non-existent during glacial climate periods. CWC research is growing rapidly in other regions such as Chilean Fjords and other colonial Scleractinians in the Mediterranean canyons (Roberts, 2014).

distribution map of global framework-forming cold-water coral based on data in Freiwald et al.23, and location of two Norwegian study sites (Hennige et al, 2014).

Figure 4: Map showing the distribution of global cold-water coral based on data in Freiwald et al.23, and location of two Norwegian study sites (Hennige et al, 2014).

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