Marine Biology

, Volume 158, Issue 10, pp 2149–2160 | Cite as

Physiological tolerance predicts species composition at different scales in a barnacle guild

  • Anne Marie PowerEmail author
  • Karen McCrann
  • David McGrath
  • Ruth M. O’ Riordan
  • Christina Simkanin
  • Alan A. Myers
Original Paper


This study examined how the species composition of an intertidal barnacle guild varied according to physical gradients in the environment at small scales governed by microclimates, medium scales of wave exposure and large scales of latitude. Barnacle distributions at small and medium scales were sampled in Ireland between 51°29′ and 52°44′N and 6°50′ and 10°08′W. Sampling on European shores spanned ~18° latitude from 37°05′ to 55°16′N. Barnacle surveys mainly took place in 2003–2004. An index of wave fetch was calculated along the wave exposure gradient using a digital coastline-based model that was supported by a biological exposure scale. A ‘dryness’ index was defined according to mean monthly wind speed, fetch along the average wind direction and mean monthly air or sea surface temperatures for 2 years (January 2001–December 2002) which is the period when the most recent adults in the barnacle community would have settled and grown to adulthood. The proportion of the dry-loving barnacle Chthamalus montagui Southward increased within the barnacle guild at all scales as the habitat became warmer and drier. Barnacle densities were high in all habitats, mean densities ranged from a minimum of 4.16 cm−2 on moderately exposed shores to a maximum of 6.27 cm−2 in sunlit or south-facing microclimates. Percentage cover of barnacles across the gradient of latitudes was usually >70%. The results suggest that the distribution and abundance of interacting barnacle species on European coasts is strongly controlled by abiotic factors, most likely temperature and desiccation.


Wave Exposure Physiological Tolerance Shore Level Barnacle Species Exposed Shore 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We wish to thank the Irish Marine Institute for funding (Ref: PDOC/01/006) and Dr. Mike Burrows, Dr. Rebecca Leaper, Niall McGinty and Dr. Julio Arrontes for various help. Special thanks to Eoin MacLoughlin and the late Dr. Jimmy Dunne for collection of barnacle samples in France. We would also like to thank two referees for very valuable suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne Marie Power
    • 1
    Email author
  • Karen McCrann
    • 1
  • David McGrath
    • 2
  • Ruth M. O’ Riordan
    • 3
  • Christina Simkanin
    • 4
  • Alan A. Myers
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Zoology, Room 226, Ryan InstituteNational University of Ireland GalwayGalwayIreland
  2. 2.Department of Life SciencesGalway-Mayo Institute of TechnologyGalwayIreland
  3. 3.School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences and Aquaculture and Fisheries Development CentreUniversity College CorkCorkIreland
  4. 4.Department of BiologyUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

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