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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 728:115-121 (2024)  -  DOI:

Demography across latitudinal and elevational gradients for range-expanding whelks

Heidi R. Waite*, Ryan A. Beshai, Cascade J. B. Sorte

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-2525, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Marine species worldwide are responding to ocean warming by shifting their ranges to new latitudes and, for intertidal species, elevations. Demographic traits can vary across populations spanning latitudinal and elevational ranges, with impacts on population growth. Understanding how demography varies across gradients from range center to edge could help us predict future shifts, species assemblages, and extinction risks. We investigated demographic traits for 2 range-expanding whelk species: Acanthinucella spirata and Mexacanthina lugubris. We measured reproductive output across environmental (latitudinal and shore elevation) gradients along the coast of California, USA. We also conducted intensive measurements of offspring condition (survival and thermal tolerance) across shore elevation for M. lugubris at one site. We found no difference in reproductive output, body size, or larval survival across shore heights for M. lugubris, suggesting that egg-laying behavior buffers developing stages from the relatively high level of thermal variation experienced due to daily tidal emersion. However, across latitudes, reproductive output increased toward the leading range edge for A. spirata, and body size increased for both species. Increased vital rates at the leading range edge could increase whelk population growth and expansion, allowing species to persist under climate change even if contractions occur at trailing edges.

KEY WORDS: Range shift · Carryover effects · Climate change · Egg laying · Reproduction · Intertidal

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Cite this article as: Waite HR, Beshai RA, Sorte CJB (2024) Demography across latitudinal and elevational gradients for range-expanding whelks. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 728:115-121.

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