Biological Invasions

, Volume 9, Issue 5, pp 523–544 | Cite as

A tale of three seas: consistency of natural history traits in a Caribbean–Atlantic barnacle introduced to Hawaii

  • Chela J. Zabin
  • John Zardus
  • Fábio Bettini Pitombo
  • Vanessa Fread
  • Michael G. Hadfield
Original Paper


Predictive models in invasion biology rely on knowledge of the life history and ecological role of invading species. However, species may change in key traits as they invade a new region, making prediction difficult. For marine invertebrate invaders there have been too few comparative studies to determine whether change in key traits is the exception or the rule. Here we examined populations of the intertidal barnacle Chthamalus proteus in three locations in its native range in the Caribbean and Atlantic, and in the Hawaiian Islands, where it has recently invaded, as a model system for such comparative studies. We measured body size, fecundity, population density and vertical distribution, compared habitat use and investigated aspects of the barnacle’s ecological role in Curaçao, Panama and Brazil and the main Hawaiian Islands. In terms of these measures, the barnacle has undergone little change in its invasion of Hawaii. Thus, if this barnacle had been studied in its native range, predictions about its spread in Hawaii could have been made. As little was known about this barnacle in either its native range or Hawaii, we also carried out studies of its larval life history, fecundity, growth, and mortality. Based on this work, we predict that this barnacle will continue to spread, aided by vessel traffic, throughout the Hawaiian Islands and elsewhere in the Pacific.


Barnacles Body size Brazil Caribbean Changes in invaders Chthamalus Hawaii Hull-fouling Life history of invaders Native-invaded habitat comparison 



Funding for this study was provided by the Edmondson Research Fund, and the Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology program at the University of Hawaii and an NSF graduate research fellowship (to CJZ); a grant from the Hawaii Conservation Alliance (to MGH and JDZ); and a National Science Foundation Undergraduate Mentoring in Environmental Biology internship (to VF). This study was also funded in part by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Project #R/AN-1, which is sponsored by the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program, SOEST, under Institutional Grant No. NA86RG0041 from NOAA Office of Sea Grant, Department of Commerce (to MGH). The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of NOAA or any of its subagencies. UNIHI-SEAGRANT-JC-00-34. We thank the Smithsonian Tropical Research Station, for hosting CJZ at the Galeta Marine Laboratory and CARMABI for hosting her in Curaçao. Field assistance was provided by: Inez Campbell in Panama, Elroy Cocheret de la Moriniere in Curaçao, and Andrew Altieri, Kim del Carmen, Anuschka Faucci, Blu Forman, Julie Goldzman, Brian Nedved, Stacy Pang and Allan Parsa in Hawaii. L. Scott Godwin, Steve L. Coles, and Lucius Eldredge from the Bernice P. Bishop Museum generously shared data with us. Drs. Alan Southward and Bill Newman assisted us with species identifications, and we thank them also for helpful discussions about C. proteus.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chela J. Zabin
    • 1
    • 2
  • John Zardus
    • 3
    • 4
  • Fábio Bettini Pitombo
    • 5
  • Vanessa Fread
    • 6
  • Michael G. Hadfield
    • 3
  1. 1.Smithsonian Environmental Research CenterRomberg Tiburon Center for Environmental StudiesTiburonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Zoology and Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology ProgramUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA
  3. 3.Kewalo Marine LaboratoryUniversity of HawaiiHonoluluUSA
  4. 4.Department of BiologyThe CitadelCharlestonUSA
  5. 5.Departamento de Biologia MarinhaUniversidade Federal FluminenseNiteroiBrazil
  6. 6.Yap Community Action ProgramColoniaMicronesia

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