Marine Biology

, 163:5

A predator has nonconsumptive effects on different life-history stages of a prey

  • Julius A. Ellrich
  • Ricardo A. Scrosati
  • Camilla Bertolini
  • Markus Molis
Original paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00227-015-2778-6

Cite this article as:
Ellrich, J.A., Scrosati, R.A., Bertolini, C. et al. Mar Biol (2016) 163: 5. doi:10.1007/s00227-015-2778-6


Through a field experiment, we show that a predator has negative nonconsumptive effects (NCEs) on different life-history stages of the same prey species. Shortly before the recruitment season of the barnacle Semibalanus balanoides (May–June), we established experimental cages in rocky intertidal habitats in Nova Scotia, Canada. The cages were used to manipulate the presence and absence of dogwhelks, Nucella lapillus, the main predators of barnacles. At the centre of each cage, we installed a tile where barnacle pelagic larvae could settle and the resulting recruits grow. Mesh prevented caged dogwhelks from accessing the tiles, but allowed waterborne dogwhelk cues to reach the tiles. Results in May indicated that barnacle larvae settled preferentially on tiles from cages without dogwhelks. In November, at the end of the dogwhelk activity period and once the barnacle recruits had grown to adult size, barnacle body mass was lower in the presence of dogwhelks. This limitation may have resulted from a lower barnacle feeding activity with nearby dogwhelks, as found by a previous study. The observed larval and adult responses in barnacles are consistent with attempts to decrease predation risk. November data also indicated that dogwhelk cues limited barnacle reproductive output, a possible consequence of the limited growth of barnacles. Overall, this study suggests that a predator species might influence trait evolution in a prey species through NCEs on different life-history stages.

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (CA)
  • 311624
Canada Research Chairs (CA)
  • 210283
Canada Foundation for Innovation (CA)
  • 202034
German Academic Exchange Service (DE)
  • D/10/47054
Stiftung für Kanada-Studien
  • T191/19833

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julius A. Ellrich
    • 1
  • Ricardo A. Scrosati
    • 1
  • Camilla Bertolini
    • 1
  • Markus Molis
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologySt. Francis Xavier UniversityAntigonishCanada
  2. 2.Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und MeeresforschungBremerhavenGermany

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