MEPS 536:77-88 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11418

Body temperatures of an intertidal barnacle and two whelk predators in relation to shore height, solar aspect, and microhabitat

Sarah Gilman1,3,*, Hilary Hayford1,2, Carrie Craig1,4, Emily Carrington1,2

1Friday Harbor Laboratories, University of Washington, 620 University Road, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, USA
2Department of Biology, University of Washington, Box 351800, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
3Present address: The W. M. Keck Science Department of Claremont McKenna, Scripps, and Pitzer Colleges, 925 N. Mills Ave, Claremont, CA 91711, USA
4Present address: Romberg Tiburon Center, San Francisco State University, 3150 Paradise Drive, Tiburon, CA 94920, USA
*Corresponding author:  

ABSTRACT: Accurate predictions of species responses to climate change require a detailed understanding of the temperatures that organisms experience in the wild. We developed biomimetic physical models of 3 common northeastern Pacific intertidal species: 2 predatory dogwhelks, Nucella ostrina and N. lamellosa and their barnacle prey, Balanus glandula. We established 42 biomimetics in up to 11 different microhabitats within an approximately 100 m2 region of the shoreline on San Juan Island, Washington, USA. Average temperatures were recorded at 15 min intervals over 3 successive summers. We found large differences in temperatures of N. ostrina biomimetics when placed in different microhabitats; as much as 8°C difference in mean daily maximum temperature and over 30 °C differences on individual days. Solar refuges and differing solar aspects reduced body temperatures, relative to more sun-exposed locations at the same shore height, by as much as moving 0.5 m lower on the shore. When biomimetics of the 3 species were placed in the same habitat, average daily maximum temperatures differed by <0.2°C, a surprisingly small amount. Yet because these species differ greatly in known thermal tolerances, the temperatures imply large differences among species in daily risk of thermal stress (0 to 33.8%). Further, N. ostrina could halve its risk of thermal stress on the high shore by moving between solar aspects. The ability of mobile predators such as Nucella spp. to exploit spatio-temporal variation in temperature likely influences their ability to regulate sessile prey such as B. glandula.


KEY WORDS: Intertidal · Temperature · Nucella · Balanus · Solar aspect · Microhabitat · Foraging


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Cite this article as: Gilman S, Hayford H, Craig C, Carrington E (2015) Body temperatures of an intertidal barnacle and two whelk predators in relation to shore height, solar aspect, and microhabitat. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 536:77-88. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11418

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