Barnacle larval supply to sheltered rocky shores: a limiting factor?
- Cite this article as:
- Jenkins, S. & Hawkins, S. Hydrobiologia (2003) 503: 143. doi:10.1023/B:HYDR.0000008496.68710.22
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In northwest Europe, sheltered rocky shores are dominated by fucoid canopy algae and barnacles are rare, although the latter are extremely abundant on exposed shores. The supply of the intertidal barnacle Semibalanus balanoides (L.) to sheltered, fucoid dominated rocky shores was investigated to determine the importance of larval supply in limiting the abundance of adults in shelter. Larval supply was measured at two spatial scales, at the scale of shore (100s of metres), by comparing larval concentrations at exposed and sheltered sites, and at a smaller spatial scale (m), by examining the role of fucoid canopies in limiting supply to the substratum. Replicate plankton trawls were carried out above the intertidal zone at high water at two sheltered sites and nearby exposed headlands. The concentration of S. balanoides cyprid larvae was significantly higher at the sheltered sites on two out of three sampling occasions with up to 14 times greater larvae on one occasion than the nearby exposed site. The effect of the macroalgal canopy on supply to the substratum was assessed in two ways: directly, by pumping water from the substratum in areas with and without Ascophyllum nodosum (L.) Le Jolis, and indirectly by measuring cyprid settlement in a canopy-manipulation experiment. Pumped plankton samples from mid tide level showed that the A. nodosum canopy did not form a barrier to larval supply and may have had a positive effect on larval concentrations at the substratum. Cyprid settlement was assessed in the mid shore A. nodosum and low shore Fucus serratus L. zones to areas with canopy algae (but protected from the sweeping effects of macroalgal fronds) and without canopy. Settlement over three consecutive 24-h periods showed a consistent pattern; settlement was consistently lower beneath the F. serratus canopy than in cleared areas, suggesting that this algal species forms a barrier, limiting supply of cyprid larvae to the substratum.