MEPS 302:177-185 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/meps302177

Spatially heterogeneous, synchronous settlement of Chthamalus spp. larvae in northern Baja California

Lydia B. Ladah1,4, Fabián J. Tapia3,5,*, Jesús Pineda3, Manuel López2

1Department of Biological Oceanography and 2Department of Physical Oceanography, CICESE, Apartado Postal 2732, Ensenada, CP 22800 Baja California, Mexico
3Biology Department, MS-34, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA
4Present address: PO Box 434844, San Diego, California 92143-4844, USA
5Present address: Estación Costera de Investigaciones Marinas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Alameda 340, Casilla 114-D, Santiago CP 6513677, Chile
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: We evaluated the spatial variability in barnacle settlement at scales of 10s to 100s of meters (among-sites: 300 m; within-site: 30 m) along 1 km of coastline in the Bay of Todos Santos, northern Baja California, Mexico. Settlement of the intertidal barnacles Chthamalus spp. was monitored daily from April 1 to May 10, 2002, and thereafter every other day to September 18, 2002. Concurrently, temperature of the water column was measured every 15 min, and hourly wind speed and direction data were acquired from a nearby site. We identified 12 settlement pulses during our study, with all but 2 pulses showing significant differences in mean settlement at either or both spatial scales. Despite a high variability in numbers, settlement pulses were synchronous between sites. The occurrence of settlement pulses was significantly correlated with a rapid increase in the stratification of nearshore waters, but not correlated with sudden fluctuations in the direction of winds perpendicular to the shore. Sudden changes in the stratification of nearshore waters have been associated with the occurrence of internal tidal bores. Our results suggest that internal motions, more specifically internal tidal bores, could be an important mechanism for the onshore transport of larvae in the Bay of Todos Santos.


KEY WORDS: Synchronous settlement · Spatial variability · Intertidal barnacle · Chthamalus · Baja California


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