First report of live deep-water cnidarian assemblages from the Malta Escarpment

L. Angeletti, A. Mecho, C. Doya, A. Micallef, Veerle A.I. Huvenne, A. Georgiopoulou, M. Taviani

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Abstract: A recent geo-marine survey of the Malta Escarpment revealed for the first time the existence of live cnidarian assemblages at about 300 m depth. These associations have been observed by means of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) during surveys carried out on the upper part of the Malta Escarpment. The assemblages established on hard bedrock were chiefly composed of the antipatharian Leiopathes glaberrima. The Malta Escarpment is known to have been successfully colonised by deep-water scleractinian assemblages until the last glacial age. However, no living specimens had been observed, and only specimens of dead but relatively fresh Dendrophyllia cornigera had been reported. This area of the Mediterranean Sea, which connects the deep Ionian basin to the western Mediterranean, is largely unknown and in clear need of thorough exploration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-297
Number of pages7
JournalItalian Journal of Zoology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2015


  • central Mediterranean
  • cnidarian assemblages
  • Leiopathes glaberrima
  • Malta Escarpment
  • ROV


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