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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 329:145-155 (2007)  -  doi:10.3354/meps329145

Horizontal and vertical distribution of cirripede cyprid larvae in an upwelling system off the Portuguese coast

Antonina dos Santos1,*, A. Miguel P. Santos1, David V. P. Conway2

1Instituto Nacional de Investigação Agrária e das Pescas—IPIMAR, Av. Brasília, s/n, 1449-006 Lisbon, Portugal
2Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL1 2PB, UK

ABSTRACT: The distribution of cirripede cyprids in relation to associated oceanographic conditions was obtained from a grid survey and intensive vertical sampling at a fixed station located 21 km off the northwest Portuguese coast in May 2002. Analysis of cyprid length composition allowed separation of 3 species groups. Chthamalus montagui, Pollicipes pollicipes and Balanus perforatus were largely restricted to the neuston layer and showed only low-amplitude vertical migration. Most C. stellatus cyprids only appeared in the upper 20 m at night, a migration which did not appear to be affected by physical conditions in the water column, but some differences in the vertical migration pattern between days were probably related to varying light penetration. C. montagui is the most abundant adult species found along the Portuguese coast, but C. stellatus cyprids, at densities of up to 8.7 ind. m–3, were the most common sampled in all depth strata at the fixed station. Cyprid horizontal distribution was mainly restricted to an offshore band along the inner shelf, where highest densities were 11 to 15 ind. m–3. This distribution pattern was considered to result from upwelling-favourable wind conditions, creating fronts along the shelf in which the cyprids become concentrated. Cyprid vertical migration, in association with current vertical shear and onshore movement of fronts during upwelling-relaxation periods, may be the mechanisms returning cyprids to the coast to settle. The regularity of these events in the region falls within the period of cyprid viability.

KEY WORDS: Cirripede cyprids · Distribution · Chthamalus stellatus · Vertical migration · Portuguese shelf

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