Morphometry and growth of sea pen species from dense habitats in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, eastern Canada

F.J. Murillo, B.W. MacDonald, E. Kenchington, Steven Campana, B. Sainte-Marie, M. Sacau

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6 Citations (Scopus)


We examined four species of sea pen (Anthoptilum grandiflorum, Halipteris finmarchica, Pennatula aculeata and Pennatula grandis) collected from the Gulf of St. Lawrence and mouth of the Laurentian Channel, eastern Canada. An exponential length–weight relationship was found for all four species, where growth in weight was progressively greater than growth in length with increasing colony size. Halipteris finmarchica, P. grandis and P. aculeata presented the better allometric fits, explaining over 80% of the variance. In addition, a count of growth increments visible in transverse sections in 86 A. grandiflorum and 80 P. aculeata samples was made. Presumed ages ranged between 5 and 28 years for A. grandiflorum and 2 and 21 years for P. aculeata. Radiocarbon assays were inconclusive and could not be used to confirm these ages; further age validation is required. Radial growth of the rod is slow during the first years, increasing at intermediate sizes of the colony and slowing down again for large colonies. Similar results were obtained from the relationship between colony length and number of growth increments where a logistic model was the best fit to the data. On average Spearman’s rank correlations showed 11% of shared variance between sea pen length or weight and environmental variables. Bottom temperature and salinity, depth and summer primary production were significantly correlated to sea pen size for most species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-382
JournalMarine Biology Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2018

Other keywords

  • Sea pens
  • Vulnerable marine ecosystems
  • Kóraldýr
  • Vöxtur (lífeðlisfræði)
  • Vistkerfi
  • Sjávarlíffræði


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