Where are the white sea fans of Santa Anna Point?

What are the white sea fans?

The white sea fans (Eunicella singularis), also known as white gorgonians, are colonial organisms related to coralls. They form semi-rigid structures shaped as fans and are about 30cm high. They are completely white. Each of the "flowers" that you can find on its branches are actually mouths that uses to feed. These fans need of a hard substrate, such as rocky walls or flat rock to cling to. At Santa Anna Point (Blanes, Spain) you can start finding them below 12m deep. However at Creus Cape (Cadaqués, Spain), because the water is richer in nutrients, you can see them while snorkeling without having to dive in at all!


When dead, they become a substrate for other organisms to cling to.
At sea everything can be useful for someone!

Present state

LEVEL OF PROTECTION: no protection status according to the European Council Directive (92/43/EEC).
THREATS:
-Death due to infection of an opportunistic bacteria when water temperature is abnormally high
-Death due to the impact of SCUBA divers' fins and boat's anchors

Punta Santa Anna (Blanes, Spain)

The Project

In this scenario members of S’Agulla wonder about what is the state of the known population of white sea fans at Santa Anna Point (Blanes, Spain).
Surveys:

July 2020 >>

March 2021>>

Results

  1. Detection of healthy new juvenile colonies
  2. Known large colonies have not suffered further deterioration
  3. Detection of movement of the sea bottom sediments: some rocks have been uncovered and the nearby Posidonia oceanica prary buried

Juvenile white seafan (Eunicella singularis) found at 15 m deep at punta Santa Anna (Blanes-Spain)

Bundles of Posidonia oceanica buried at punta Santa Anna (Blanes-Spain).

Conclusions

Regarding the white seafans:
Prospects are optimistic: the presence of health juveniles indicate a partial recovery of the population of the white seafan Eunicella singularis.

We hope it is not a mirage!

Regarding the environment:
Changes in local sea currents due to the extension of the port and to the Gloria storm of January 2020, have caused a movement of sediments. The nearby Posidonia oceanica prary is getting buried. The importance of these plants is fondamental in the maintenance of the transparency and quality of the water and offers a habitat to fish of commercial interest to reproduce.

Sand movements need to be monitored in the following years to asses the prarie's viability.

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