, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 12-29

Desiccation as a factor in the intertidal zonation of barnacles

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Four species of balanomorph barnacles, Balanus crenatus Brugière, B. balanoides (L.), Elminius modestus Darwin and Chthamalus stellatus (Poli), were studied to assess the susceptibility of intertidal barnacle species to desiccation. Known sized samples of barnacles were exposed to controlled desiccating conditions and subsequent survival and water loss were determined. It is clear that the ability to live high on the shore is dependent on a reduction of the overall permeability to water loss. Because of greater surface area to volume ratios, small stages are particularly prone to desiccation. In normal intertidal emersion periods, small stages of B. crenatus particularly, and also of B. balanoides and E. modestus which are similar in their desiccation resistance, would be susceptible to desiccation at normal temperatures and low humidities. Large barnacles would be more prone to death from high temperatures when the tide is out. The spat of C. stellatus, although surviving much longer than spat of larger dimensions of the other species, must also be prone to prolonged emersion conditions at high shore levels.

Communicated by J.E. Smith, Plymouth