Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Although there is no direct information on the reproduction of the pink sea fan, it is thought that larvae are short-lived and settle soon after release (6). It is a slow growing and long-lived species (specimens may reach 50 years old) and if a population is entirely lost from an area, recolonisation is likely to be very slow (6). The age can be determined (destructively) by the presence of internal growth rings, much like those of a tree (3). The pink sea fan provides habitat for the sea fan sea slug, (Tritonia nilsohdneri) and the rare sea fan anemone (Amphianthus dohrnii) (5).
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Description

Pink sea fans are formed from a colony of tiny polyps; they may be a deep pink to white in colour (3), and attach to the substrate with a broad base. Branches occur 2 to 4 cm above this base from a column which can reach 0.8 cm in diameter. Branching occurs in one plane, and the whole fan is orientated at right angles to the prevailing current in order to maximise the efficiency of filter feeding (2). The anemone-like polyps emerge from warty bumps along the branches (3).
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Comprehensive Description

Description

 The "pink" sea fan may be white to deep pink in colour. Colonies branch profusely and the branches are covered in warty protuberences from which the small anemone-like polyps emerge. Colonies may be up to 50 cm high but more often up to 25 cm and are usually oriented in one plane (at right angles to the prevailing water currents).May be confused with Swiftia pallida, which occurs in Scotland northwards to Scandinavia but is much less branched, has generally thinner branches and may be white or rose coloured.
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Description

This sea fan forms large colonies which branch profusely, mostly in one plane. It is typically salmon pink but may be white in colour. Grows up to 300mm tall and 400mm wide. Grows very slowly in British waters, approximately 10mm per year, thus collection for the tourist trade endangers local populations. Please do not collect sea-fans and likewise attempt to dissuade others who may do so. May be confused with Swiftia pallida. Possibly other species of sea-fan occur in British waters: most likely is Eunicella singularis (=Eunicella stricta) which is white, with less branching than Eunicella verrucosa, and with long vertical terminal branches.
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Distribution

Range

This species is found in the waters of the south west of England between north Pembrokeshire and Dorset. It is also known from the west of Ireland (1) and around south-west Europe (2), reaching as far south as the Mediterranean (1). Old records indicate that this species was once present in the English Channel up to the Thames Estuary (3).
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Locally common on south and west coasts of the British Isles, also around southwest Europe and the Mediterranean. In Ireland substantial populations are present in Galway and Donegal bays, but this species is rare elsewhere. These populations may be very isolated, in Galway Bay nearly all individuals are white in colour. Further infomation on its distribution in the British Isles would be welcomed.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Marine
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Depth range based on 69 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 38 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 115.5
  Temperature range (°C): 10.625 - 24.389
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.326 - 9.616
  Salinity (PPS): 35.008 - 38.444
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.052 - 6.346
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.095 - 0.649
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.379 - 3.727

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 115.5

Temperature range (°C): 10.625 - 24.389

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.326 - 9.616

Salinity (PPS): 35.008 - 38.444

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.052 - 6.346

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.095 - 0.649

Silicate (umol/l): 1.379 - 3.727
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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 Found mainly on upward facing bedrock in areas where water movement (wave action or tidal streams) is moderately strong.
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The pink sea fan attaches to rocky substrata such as large stable boulders or upward facing bedrock. They only occur at depths below the level where algae dominate, often below 15 m (1), with moderately strong currents or wave action (3).
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Attached to rocks and boulders, usually with the fan orientated across the current, in depths of 10-100m.
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
A1d

Version
2.3

Year Assessed
1996
  • Needs updating

Assessor/s
World Conservation Monitoring Centre

Reviewer/s

Contributor/s

History
  • 1994
    Insufficiently Known
    (Groombridge 1994)
  • 1990
    Insufficiently Known
    (IUCN 1990)
  • 1988
    Insufficiently Known
    (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
  • 1986
    Insufficiently Known
    (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)
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Status

Protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (1).
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Threats

This species is extremely vulnerable to physical disturbance (3). In the 1960s it was collected as souvenirs, which may have caused a long-term reduction in populations. Climate change may be a future concern, and damage may occur as a result of strikes by careless scuba divers' fins and entanglement in fishing nets. Smothering by seaweeds and other species may also cause the death of pink sea fans (1). Although classified as Nationally Scarce, this species is likely to have a wider range than current records indicate (3).
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Management

Conservation

The pink sea fan is fully protected against killing, taking or injuring, and sale. It is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) priority species, the resulting Species Action Plan aims to maintain the present distribution of the sea fan (1). The pink sea fan occurs in the Marine Nature Reserves (MNRs) of Lundy and Skomer; the zones of these MNRs were developed specifically to reflect the sensitivity of this species (1). As the pink sea fan is the host species for the sea anemone Amphianthus dohrnii, which is also a UK BAP priority, the conservation of these two species goes hand-in-hand (1). A project by The Marine Conservation Society is currently monitoring and assessing pink sea fans (2).
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Wikipedia

Broad sea fan

The broad sea fan or pink sea fan (Eunicella verrucosa) is a species of colonial Gorgonian "soft coral" in the Gorgoniidae family. It is native to the northeastern Atlantic Ocean and the western Mediterranean Sea.

Description[edit]

Eunicella verrucosa has a densely branching, fan-like stem and usually grows in a single plane. It orientates itself at right angles to the direction of water movement and can grow to a height of 50 cm (20 in), although 25 cm (10 in) is a more usual size. Stems and branches are covered with wart-like growths from which the polyps protrude. The colour can vary from red, through pink to white.[3]

Distribution[edit]

Eunicella verrucosa is native to the northeastern Atlantic and the western Mediterranean Sea.[2] Its range extends from the southwestern coasts of Britain and Ireland to France, Spain, Italy, Algeria, Morocco, Western Sahara and Mauritania.[1] It is found growing on rock, timber, metal or concrete and its depth range is 4 to 50 metres (13 to 164 ft).[4] In British waters this sea fan has become scarcer, possibly being damaged by dredging or because of higher seawater temperatures.[5]

Biology[edit]

Reproduction in Eunicella verrucosa has been little studied. The planula larvae are likely to be lecithotrophic (sustained by a yolk-sac) and able to drift for a short time before settling on the seabed where they develop into polyps and found new colonies. The growth rate of colonies varies; in Lyme Bay in southern Britain, some colonies grew by 6 cm (2 in) in one year while in another year, did not grow at all.[6] The sea fan anemone (Amphianthus dohrnii) is often found living on Eunicella verrucosa.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b World Conservation Monitoring Centre (1996). "Eunicella verrucosa". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2014-12-14. 
  2. ^ a b Eunicella verrucosa (Pallas, 1766).  Retrieved through: World Register of Marine Species.
  3. ^ Hiscock, Keith (2007). "Pink sea fan - Eunicella verrucosa - General information". MarLIN. Retrieved 2014-12-14. 
  4. ^ Hiscock, Keith (2007). "Pink sea fan - Eunicella verrucosa - Habitat preferences and distribution". MarLIN. Retrieved 2014-12-14. 
  5. ^ Hiscock, Keith; Southward, Alan; Tittley, Ian; Hawkins, Stephen (2004). "Effects of changing temperature on benthic marine life in Britain and Ireland". Aquatic conservation 14 (4): 333–362. doi:10.1002/aqc.628. 
  6. ^ Hiscock, Keith (2007). "Pink sea fan - Eunicella verrucosa - Reproduction and longevity". MarLIN. Retrieved 2014-12-14. 
  7. ^ "Sea-fan anemone Amphianthus dohrnii". ARKive. Retrieved 2014-12-13. 
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