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Coz, R., Ouisse, V., Artero, C., Carpentier, A., Crave, A., Feunteun, E., et al. (2012). Development of a new standardised method for sustainable monitoring of the vulnerable pink sea fan Eunicella verrucosa. Marine Biology, 159(6), 1375–1388.
Résumé: The aim of this survey was to test a standardised method to follow the demographic evolution of a dense aggregative 'forest' population of the temperate gorgonian Eunicella verrucosa (Octocorallia, Gorgoniidae) using in situ photographic recordings. Distribution, density, growth and demographic evolution of the colonies was compared along two parallel transects. Computer treatment allowed the estimation of the total branch fan surface area, and the individual growth of tagged colonies was determined by measuring the increase in this surface area, using consecutive photographs taken at two-year intervals. To integrate the potential bias of branch overlapping, we proposed a correction factor between the in situ photographic surface area and the surface area of the gorgonian calculated from ex situ photographic surface area with all branches deployed. The surface-frequency distribution of colonies was converted to estimated-age-frequency distribution using an estimated growth curve based on the net growth rate. The technique used revealed significant differences in population structure and the dynamics of gorgonian colonies, as the two transects appeared to be influenced by different environmental conditions. The recruitment also seemed to vary according to year and transect, resulting in different densities. Our work showed clear results in characterising the variations of gorgonian demographic evolution at a small spatial scale; thus, it is assumed that this method could be a sustainable tool for coastal environmental managers.