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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 661:147-161 (2021)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13578

Lipid allocation in late-stage barnacle larvae from subtropical and temperate waters

Inês Leal1,*, Katrin Bohn2,3, Stephen J. Hawkins3,4, Stuart R. Jenkins5, Augusto A. V. Flores6, Réjean Tremblay1

1Institut des sciences de la mer, Université du Québec à Rimouski, 310 Allée des Ursulines, Rimouski, QC G5L 2Z9, Canada
2Natural England, Apex Court, City Link, Nottingham NG24LA, UK
3Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton, University of Southampton, European Way, Southampton SO14 3ZH, UK
4Marine Biological Association of the UK, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL1 2PB, UK
5School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University, Anglesey LL59 5AB, UK
6Centro de Biologia Marinha, Universidade de São Paulo, Rodovia Manoel Hypólito do Rego, Km 131,50, S/N - Praia do Cabelo Gordo, São Sebastião - SP 11600-000, Brazil
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The transition of planktonic late-stage barnacle larvae to a benthic life requires enough energy to power settlement and metamorphosis, and may be compromised by food limitation during early ontogeny. We carried out a comparative study to better understand the larval physiology of space-monopolizing barnacles exposed to contrasting regimes of primary productivity: Chthamalus bisinuatus under a meso-oligotrophic regime on the southeastern coast of Brazil, and C. montagui under a highly productive regime on the southwestern coast of the British Isles. We used an index based on lipid composition—the triacylglycerol (TAG) to phospholipid (PL) ratio—to characterize lipid allocation (energy/structure) in the tissues of cyprid larvae and anticipated depleted TAG reserves in cyprids from less productive waters. Despite the considerably different levels of primary productivity between subtropical (1.31 ± 0.4 mg chl a m-3) and temperate waters (3.09 ± 1.2 mg chl a m-3), TAG/PL ratio and settlement success were comparable for C. bisinuatus and C. montagui. Lipid allocation of daily cohorts was also comparable for both chthamalids, with cyprids equally storing TAG reserves (≥50% of total lipid content). This points to an energetic threshold below which nauplii cannot develop to a cyprid and/or selection for lipid accumulation under poor trophic conditions. We highlight the challenges of directly relating estimates of primary productivity with food supply and larval physiological status, as lower chl a concentrations do not necessarily indicate food limitation for barnacle nauplii. We propose a conceptual model to clarify the process of lipid allocation (energetic to structural lipids) in the tissues of cyprid larvae.


KEY WORDS: Supply-side ecology · Settlement dynamics · Larval physiology · Lipids · Energetics · Chthamalus


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Cite this article as: Leal I, Bohn K, Hawkins SJ, Jenkins SR, Flores AAV, Tremblay R (2021) Lipid allocation in late-stage barnacle larvae from subtropical and temperate waters. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 661:147-161. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13578

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