Semibalanusbalanoides in winter and spring: larval concentration, settlement, and substrate occupancy
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This study measured the progression from pelagic larvae to juvenile barnacles, and examined whether recruitment of barnacles, Semibalanusbalanoides Linnaeus, at two intertidal sites in contrasting hydrodynamic regimes was determined by pre-settlement or post-settlement processes. The two sites were 1.5 km apart in the vicinity of Woods Hole, Mass., USA. Quantitative plankton samples were taken twice weekly from December 1997 to May 1998 at a nearby site as an estimate of nearshore larval abundance. The presence of S. balanoides nauplii was noted, and cyprids were enumerated and measured. Larval settlement at the two sites [Gansett Point, Buzzards Bay (GP) and Little Harbor, Vineyard Sound (LH)] was estimated from examination of replicate settlement plates exposed for 2 or 3 days throughout the settlement season, and from replicate plots on marked rock quadrats at each site. On both plates and rocks settled cyprids and metamorphs were enumerated. Space occupancy on unmanipulated rock quadrats by all stages from cyprids to adult barnacles was also examined. Settlement occurred from 2 January to 20 May, and major settlement peaks coincided with peaks in pelagic cyprid concentration at LH, but not at GP. Space occupied by juvenile barnacles was close to zero up until late February despite substantial settlement prior to that. At LH, juvenile barnacle cover was zero at the end of the observations; all settlement failed. Almost 100% of settled cyprids failed to metamorphose within 2 days from late January to late March. Then the proportion metamorphosing increased sharply coinciding with a sudden increase of 3°C in water temperature. Observed site differences in space occupancy by juvenile barnacles suggest that while cyprid supply is a necessary condition for barnacle settlement, other factors affecting metamorphosis of settled cyprids and early juvenile mortality determine recruitment.
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