Does climatic warming explain why an introduced barnacle finally takes over after a lag of more than 50 years?
- 381 Downloads
Invading alien species may have to await appropriate conditions before developing from a rare addition to the recipient community to a dominance over native species. Such a retarded invasion seems to have happened with the antipodean cirripede crustacean Austrominius modestus Darwin, formerly known as Elminius modestus, at its northern range in Europe due to climatic change. This barnacle was introduced to southern Britain almost seven decades ago, and from there spread north and south. At the island of Sylt in the North Sea, the first A. modestus were observed already in 1955 but this alien remained rare until recently, when in summer of 2007 it had overtaken the native barnacles Semibalanus balanoides and Balanus crenatus in abundance. At the sedimentary shores of Sylt, mollusc shells provide the main substrate for barnacles and highest abundances were attained on mixed oyster and mussel beds just above low tide level. A. modestus ranged from the upper intertidal down to the subtidal fringe. Its realized spatial niche was wider than that of the two natives. We suggest that at its current northern range in Europe a long series of mild winters and several warm summers in a row has led to an exponential population growth in A. modestus.
KeywordsAlien species Austrominius modestus Invasion Climate change North Sea
We thank Elisabeth Herre for substantial help with the figures. Patrick Polte, Nils Volkenborn, Alfred Resch and Kay von Böhlen were essential to set-up the ring-experiment. Heike Büttger and Georg Nehls provided long-term data on barnacle abundance attached to beds of mussels and oysters.
- Barnes H, Barnes M (1968) Elminius modestus Darwin: a recent extension of the distribution and its present status on the southern part of the French Atlantic coast. Cahiers des Biologie Marine 9:261–268Google Scholar
- Buckeridge JS, Newman WA (2010) A review of the subfamily Elminiinae (Cirripedia: Thoracica: Austrobalanidae), including a new genus, Protelminius nov., from the Oligocene of New Zealand. Zootaxa 2349:39–54Google Scholar
- Buschbaum C (2002b) Recruitment patterns and biotic interactions of barnacles (Cirripedia) on mussel beds (Mytilus edulis L.) in the Wadden Sea. Berichte zur Polar- und Meeresforschung 408:143Google Scholar
- Carlton JT (1985) Transoceanic and interoceanic dispersal of coastal marine organisms: the biology of ballast water. Oceanogr Mar Biol Ann Rev 23:313–374Google Scholar
- Crooks JA, Soulé ME (1999) Lag times in population explosions of invasive species: causes and implications. In: Sandlund OT, Schei PJ, Viken A (eds) Invasive species and biodiversity management. Kluwer Academic Press, Dordrecht, pp 103–125Google Scholar
- Darwin C (1854) A monograph on the subclass Cirripedia, with figures of all species. The Balanidae (or sessile cirripedes), the Verrucidae, etc. Ray Society, London, p 684Google Scholar
- Gätje C, Reise K (1998) Ökosystem Wattenmeer, Austausch-, Transport- und Stoffumwandlungsprozesse. Springer, Berlin, p 570Google Scholar
- Görlitz S (2005) Neue Riffe im Wattenmeer: Die Pazifische Auster Crassostrea gigas und ihre assoziierte Lebensgemeinschaft. Diploma thesis, University of Kiel, pp 66Google Scholar
- Harms J, Anger K (1989) Settlement of the barnacle Elminius modestus on test panels at Helgoland (North Sea): a ten year study. Topics in marine biology. Sci Mar 53:417–421 Ed by JD RosGoogle Scholar
- Nehls G, Büttger H (2006) Miesmuschelmonitoring 1998–2005 im Nationalpark Schleswig-Holsteinisches Wattenmeer. Landesamt für den Nationalpark, Schleswig-Holsteinisches Wattenmeer, p 165Google Scholar
- Rainbow PS (1984) An introduction to the biology of British littoral barnacles. Field Stud 6:1–51Google Scholar
- Thieltges DW, Prinz K, Reise K, Jensen KT (2009) Invaders interfere with native parasite-host interactions. Biol Invasions. doi: 10.1007/s10530-008-9350-y
- Underwood AJ (1997) Experiments in ecology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p 504Google Scholar
- Wolff WJ, Reise K (2002) Oyster imports as a vector for the introduction of alien species into northern and western European coastal waters. In: Leppäkoski E et al (eds) Invasive aquatic species of Europe. Kluwer Acad Press, Netherlands, pp 193–205Google Scholar