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Hanging coral gardens of a Tyrrhenian submarine cave from Sicily (Italy)
Rosso, A.; Sanfilippo, R.; Vertino, A.; Zibrowius, H. (2017). Hanging coral gardens of a Tyrrhenian submarine cave from Sicily (Italy). Boll. Soc. Paleont. Ital. 56(1): 1-12. https://hdl.handle.net/10.4435/BSPI.2017.01
In: Bollettino della Societa Paleontologica Italiana. Mucchi Editore: Modena. ISSN 0583-7979, more

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Keywords
    Astroides calycularis (Pallas, 1766) [WoRMS]; Scleractinia [WoRMS]
    Marine
Author keywords
    Cave palaeocommunity; Scleractinia; Astroides calycularis; latePleistocene; Mediterranean

Authors  Top 
  • Rosso, A.
  • Sanfilippo, R.
  • Vertino, A., more
  • Zibrowius, H.

Abstract
    An exceptionally well-preserved cave palaeocommunity is described from the Capo Milazzo Peninsula (NE Sicily). The Fulco Cave formed within a layer of breccia including metamorphic and Miocene limestone blocks together with rare clasts of isidid-bearing lithified bathyal sediments. This new breccia type points to a still undescribed deposition event in the early Pleistocene. The fossil association inside the cave is relatively diversified and dominated by the dendrophyllid coral Astroides calycularis whose colonies encrusted the cavity ceiling and grew in an upside-down position, forming spectacular "hanging gardens". The warm climate affinity of Astroides indicates that colonisation took place during an interglacial period, possibly during the Tyrrhenian. The palaeocommunity indicates a semi-dark cave open toward the sea in a shallow water setting. The elongation of Astroides corallites was possibly driven by a low level of water motion and/or competition for space and food. The common constrictions point to slow or no growth phases possibly related to environmental fluctuations, periodically leading to mass mortality events.

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