Oecologia

, Volume 75, Issue 3, pp 420–425 | Cite as

The effect of wave action on growth in three species of intertidal gastropods

  • Kenneth M. Brown
  • James F. Quinn
Original Papers

Summary

Populations of the limpets Collisella digitalis and C. scabra, as well as the thaidid whelk Nucella (Thais) emarginata, had greater mean shell lengths at a protected site (Tomales Bay) than at an exposed site (Mussel Point) on the California coast near the Bodega Marine Laboratory. To determine the relative importance of wave action as well as genetic differentiation among populations in explaining this pattern, tagged snails of all three species were reciprocally transferred between the two sites. For C. digitalis, total wet mass (tissue plus shell) increased by 34.4% at the protected site, but decreased by 2% at the exposed site over a two and one-half month period. For C. scabra, growth was 43.1% at the protected, and 2.7% at the exposed site, and for Nucella, 9.5% and 1%, respectively. Although some evidence of population differentiation was found, particularly for the direct-developing whelk, source differences in growth were not as large as the site effect. At least for the whelk, absolute differences in barnacle prey abundances did not occur between sites. However, all three gastropods had higher abundances at the exposed site. While factors such as genetic differentiation and competition may partially explain why gastropods are on the average smaller at exposed sites, we suggest that wave action may also play a role, possibly by limiting time available for feeding, and therefore energy available for growth. Although wave action, acting via size-specific mortality, has been suggested to limit the size that consumers can reach on exposed shores, it may also indirectly affect intertidal gastropod populations by altering foraging behavior, growth and life histories.

Key words

Wave action Intertidal snails Population differentiation Growth rates 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Carefoot T (1977) Pacific Seashores: A Guide to Intertidal Ecology. Univ Washington Press, SeattleGoogle Scholar
  2. Connell JH (1961) Effects of competition, predation by Thais lapillus, and other factors on natural populations of the barnacle Balanus balanoides. Ecol Monogr 31:61–104Google Scholar
  3. Connell JH (1970) A predator-prey system in the marine intertidal 1. Balanus glandula and several predatory species of Thais. Ecol Monogr 40:49–78Google Scholar
  4. Connor VM, Quinn JF (1984) Stimulation of food species growth by limpet mucus. Science 225:843–844Google Scholar
  5. Dayton PK (1971) Competition, disturbance, and community organization: the provision and subsequent utilization of space in a rocky intertidal community. Ecol Monogr 41:351–389Google Scholar
  6. Denny MW, Daniel TL, Koehl MAR (1985) Mechanical limits to size in wave-swept organisms. Ecol Monogr 55:69–102Google Scholar
  7. Fletcher WJ (1984) Intraspecific variation in the population dynamics and growth of the limpet Cellana tramoserica. Oecologica (Berlin) 63:110–12Google Scholar
  8. Kitching JA, Muntz L, Ebling FJ (1966) The ecology of Lough Ine. XV. The ecological significance of shell and body forms in Nucella. J Anim Ecol 35:331–341Google Scholar
  9. Leigh EG Jr, Paine RT, Quinn JF, Suchanek TH (1987) Wave energy and intertidal productivity. Proc Nat Acad Sci (USA) 84:1314–1318Google Scholar
  10. McQuaid CD, Branch GM (1985) Trophic structure of rocky intertidal communities: Response to wave action and implications for energy flow. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 22:153–161Google Scholar
  11. Menge BA (1974) Effect of wave action and competition on brooding and reproductive effort in the seastar Leptasterias hexactis. Ecology 55:84–93Google Scholar
  12. Menge BA (1978) Predation intensity in a rocky intertidal community: Relation between predator foraging activity and environmental harshness. Oecologia (Berlin) 34:1–16Google Scholar
  13. Menge BA, Sutherland JP (1976) Species diversity gradients: Synthesis of the roles of predation, competition, and temporal heterogeneity. Am Nat 110:351–369Google Scholar
  14. Menge JL (1974) Prey selection and foraging period of a predaceous rocky intertidal snail, Acanthina punctulata. Oecologia (Berlin) 17:293–316Google Scholar
  15. Paine RT (1976) Size-limited predation: an observational and experimental approach with the Mytilus-Pisaster association. Ecology 57:858–873Google Scholar
  16. Palmer AR (1984) Prey selection by thaidid gastropods: some observational and experimental field tests of foraging models. Oecologia (Berlin) 62:162–172Google Scholar
  17. Quinn JF (1979) Disturbance, predation and diversity in the rocky intertidal zone. Ph.D. thesis, U. of WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  18. Ricketts EF, Calvin J, Hedgepeth JW, Phillips DW (1985) Between Pacific Tides. 5th ed., Stanford Univ Press, StanfordGoogle Scholar
  19. Sutherland JP (1970) Dynamics of high and low populations of the limpet, Acmaea scabra (Gould) Ecol Monogr 40:161–188Google Scholar
  20. Underwood AJ (1984) Vertical and seasonal patterns in competition for microalgae between intertidal gastropods. Oecologia (Berlin) 64:211–222Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth M. Brown
    • 1
  • James F. Quinn
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Zoology and PhysiologyLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Environmental StudiesUniversity of Californiaat DavisUSA

Personalised recommendations