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Carryover effects of brooding conditions on larvae in the slipper limpet Crepidula fornicata

Kirstin Meyer-Kaiser

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ABSTRACT: Larval dispersal is a critical step in the life-histories of sessile benthic invertebrates. There is a growing body of research showing plasticity in marine invertebrate larvae, but the causes and ranges of intraspecific variation in larvae are incompletely understood. In this study, field-based collections of Crepidula fornicata larvae in 2017 motivated a laboratory experiment on carryover effects in 2019. I used experimental conditions that approximated environmental conditions experienced by mothers in the field to test whether seasonal environmental variations during brooding could lead to differences in larval size and the time to develop to competency. Mothers were kept in 2 different temperature and feeding treatments during brooding, but larvae were cultured in a common garden. Larvae that were brooded at spring temperatures (~13° C) took longer to develop to competency in the common garden and grew larger before becoming competent than larvae brooded at warmer summer temperatures (~21° C). There was no effect of maternal feeding (fed or not fed) on time to develop to competency or larval size. Thus, C. fornicata larvae released earlier in the year are likely to spend longer periods in the water column. They may disperse farther and grow to larger size before settlement. C. fornicata is a model species for larval biology. The results of this study can be used to inform biophysical modelling efforts and refine predictions of connectivity or species range shifts in a changing climate.