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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 472:185-198 (2013)  -  DOI:

Disruption of endogenous tidal rhythms of larval release linked to food supply and heat stress in an intertidal barnacle

Paula Kasten, Augusto A. V. Flores*

Universidade de São Paulo, Centro de Biologia Marinha, Rodovia Manoel Hipólito do Rego, Km 131.5, 11600-000, São Sebastião, São Paulo, Brazil
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: The timing of larval release may greatly affect the survivorship and distribution of pelagic stages and reveal important aspects of life history tactics in marine invertebrates. Endogenous rhythms of breeding individuals and populations are valuable indicators of selected strategies because they are free of the neutral effect of stochastic environmental variation. The high-shore intertidal barnacle Chthamalus bisinuatus exhibits endogenous tidal and tidal amplitude rhythms in a way that larval release would more likely occur during fortnightly neap periods at high tide. Such timing would minimize larval loss due to stranding and promote larval retention close to shore. This fully explains temporal patterns in populations facing the open sea and inhabiting eutrophic areas. However, rhythmic activity breaks down to an irregular pattern in a population within the São Sebastião Channel subjected to large variation of food supply around a mesotrophic average. Peaks of chl a concentration precede release events by 6 d, suggesting resource limitation for egg production within the channel. Also, extreme daily temperatures imposing mortality risk correlate to release rate just 1 d ahead, suggesting a terminal reproductive strategy. Oceanographic conditions apparently dictate whether barnacles follow a rhythmic trend of larval release supported by endogenous timing or, alternatively, respond to the stochastic variation of key environmental factors, resulting in an erratic temporal pattern.

KEY WORDS: Reproductive timing · Endogenous rhythm · Thermal stress · Phytoplankton · Chthamalus bisinuatus

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Cite this article as: Kasten P, Flores AAV (2013) Disruption of endogenous tidal rhythms of larval release linked to food supply and heat stress in an intertidal barnacle. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 472:185-198.

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