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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 396:77-84 (2009)  -  DOI:

Habitat selection at settlement endures in recruitment time series

Jonathan N. Blythe*, Jesús Pineda

Biology Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA

ABSTRACT: Metamorphosis from a pelagic to a benthic stage is a critical transition in the life cycle of sessile marine invertebrates. The barnacle Semibalanus balanoides attaches permanently during settlement, and once attached, its gross location in the adult habitat is fixed. The partitioning of benthic habitat among barnacles in a recruit cohort is often mediated by settlement timing because early settlement preempts later settlement. We found that barnacles that settled earlier had a higher chance of survival to reproductive age. Additionally, there was a marked preference for some settlement locations over others as indicated by the order that different quadrats were occupied. Location of settlement resolved on a daily timescale over 34 d within 1 site had an enduring influence on which individuals survived to adulthood up to 12 mo later. Furthermore, adult density from a recruit cohort was highly correlated with the timing of settlement. Therefore, habitat selection behavior at settlement may account for a large degree of variability in recruit survival through adulthood in sessile marine invertebrates.

KEY WORDS: Larval settlement behavior · Priority effects · Habitat discrimination · Recruitment window

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Cite this article as: Blythe JN, Pineda J (2009) Habitat selection at settlement endures in recruitment time series. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 396:77-84.

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