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MEPS
Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 425:113-124 (2011)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08992

Supply of crab larvae to an estuary in the eastern Atlantic upwelling system exhibits predictable and haphazard variation at different temporal scales

Carla P. Domingues1,*, Maria João Almeida1, Jesus Dubert2, Rita Nolasco2, Nuno Cordeiro2, Silke Waap3, Ana Sequeira1, Sofia Tavares1, Henrique Queiroga1

1CESAM & Departamento de Biologia, Universidade de Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
2CESAM & Departamento de Física, Universidade de Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
3Faculdade de Ciências do Mar e do Ambiente, Universidade do Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, 8005-196 Faro, Portugal

ABSTRACT: We measured variability in daily supply levels of shore crab megalopae in an estuary on the northwest Portuguese coast, Ria de Aveiro, located in the eastern Atlantic upwelling system. The 5 yr study covered the shore crab larval season (generally February to July) in 2002 and from 2006 to 2009. We addressed the possible effects of wind- and tide-driven circulation, number of flood hours during darkness, and chlorophyll a concentration in coastal waters on larval supply variation. Megalopae supply measured over the years was an episodic phenomenon, and observations showed some predictable and haphazard patterns. In some episodes, supply was highest around spring tides and was enhanced by southerly winds, as predicted, although not all episodes fitted this pattern. The relationships between supply levels and number of flood hours during darkness or chlorophyll a concentration were ambiguous throughout the time series, although in some years increased levels of supply were positively correlated with number of flood hours during the night. The analysis of multiple years conducted in this study showed that shore crab megalopae supply patterns to Ria de Aveiro are more variable than previously assumed, suggesting the participation of several delivery mechanisms that vary within and among years. However, a proportion of supply variation exists that cannot be explained by the mechanisms we propose.


KEY WORDS: Larval supply · Carcinus maenas · Wind · Tides · Flood hours · Chlorophyll a


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Cite this article as: Domingues CP, Almeida MJ, Dubert J, Nolasco R and others (2011) Supply of crab larvae to an estuary in the eastern Atlantic upwelling system exhibits predictable and haphazard variation at different temporal scales. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 425:113-124. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08992

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