MEPS 543:201-208 (2016)  -  DOI:

Local biological drivers, not remote forcing, predict settlement rate to a subtropical barnacle population

Andreia C. C. Barbosa1, Cristal C. Gomes2, Gilberto C. Pereira3, Marília Bueno4, Augusto A. V. Flores1,*

1Universidade de São Paulo, Centro de Biologia Marinha (CEBIMar/USP), Rod. Manoel Hipólito do Rego, km 131.5, 11600-000, São Sebastião, São Paulo, Brazil
2Consultoria, Planejamento e Estudos Ambientais (CPEA), Rua Tiro 11, 04, 11013-040, Centro, Santos, São Paulo, Brazil
3Departamento de Engenharia Civil (COPPE), Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Centro de Tecnologia, 21941-972, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
4Departamento de Biologia Animal, Instituto de Biologia CP 6109, Universidade Estadual de Campinas - UNICAMP, 13083-970, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: In spite of growing evidence for potential larval retention close to parental populations, it is still commonly assumed that large-scale transport mechanisms overwhelm local reproductive patterns and control larval settlement. Here, we evaluated the likelihood of settlement rate regulation by local biological factors and remote physical transport in a population of the intertidal tropical barnacle Chthamalus bisinuatus. Results indicated that juvenile recruitment and larval settlement may be substantially regulated by local reproductive output and pelagic food supply. Seasonal reproduction, with peak activity during summer, is followed by juvenile recruitment with no apparent lag over successive (ca. 15 d) sampling dates. Likewise, high-frequency (1 d) time-series analyses connected the main steps of the process: naupliar release correlates to cyprid supply in nearshore waters 7 d ahead, and cyprid supply is followed by larval settlement after an additional 4 to 5 d. Positive correlations between residuals of release vs. settlement relationships and chl a concentration (a proxy of phytoplankton biomass) also suggest food limitation for late naupliar stages. Tidal and wind transport did not explain the temporal variation in larval supply, and larval settlement responded only weakly to the wind of the day, suggesting a modest and very local effect. Addressing transport hypotheses alone is likely an inadequate approach to understand the supply-side ecology of marine invertebrates living in meso-oligotrophic systems such as the one examined in this study. A better understanding of processes affecting reproductive output and pelagic larval survival in addition to transport mechanisms, is likely required.

KEY WORDS: Rocky shores · Self-recruitment · Larval behavior · Larval competency · Metamorphosis · Food limitation

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Cite this article as: Barbosa ACC, Gomes CC, Pereira GC, Bueno M, Flores AAV (2016) Local biological drivers, not remote forcing, predict settlement rate to a subtropical barnacle population. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 543:201-208.

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