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  1. null (Ed.)
    Since about the turn of the millennium, octocorals have been increasing in abundance on Caribbean reefs. The mechanisms underlying this trend have not been resolved, but the emergent species assemblage appears to be more resilient than the scleractinians they are replacing. The sea fan Gorgonia ventalina is an iconic species in the contemporary octocoral fauna, and here its population dynamics are described from St. John, US Virgin Islands, from 2013 to 2019. Mean densities of G. ventalina at Yawzi Point (9-m depth) varied from 1.4–1.5 colonies m −2 , and their mean heights from 24–30 cm; nearby at Tektite (14-m depth), they varied from 0.6–0.8 colonies m −2 and from 25–33 cm. These reefs were impacted by two Category 5 hurricanes in 2017, but neither the density of G. ventalina , the density of their recruits (< 5-cm tall), nor the height of colonies, differed among years, although growth was depressed after the hurricanes. Nevertheless, at Tektite, colony height trended upwards over time, in part because colonies 10.1–20 cm tall were reduced in abundance after the hurricanes. These trends were sustained without density-associated effects mediating recruitment or self-thinning of adults. The dynamics of G. ventalina over seven years reveals the high resilience of this species that will contribute to the persistence of octocorals as a dominant state on Caribbean reefs. 
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