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Distribution of Atlantidae species (Gastropoda:Pterotracheoidea) during an El Niño event in the Southern California Current region (summer-fall 2015)

Gerardo Aceves-Medina*, María Moreno-Alcántara, Reginaldo Durazo, Daniel Delgado-Hofmann

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Atlantids are holoplanktonic gastropods present in tropical to sub-polar waters and have gained an increasing interest due to their potential use as biological indicators of climate change and ocean acidification. However, there is a lack of information regarding their distribution for large areas of some oceans, particularly in the California Current Region (CCR), which has been taken as a model for many acidification studies and where also intense warming events occur. The distribution patterns of 18 species of Atlantidae off the west coast of the Baja California Peninsula, Mexico, representing 90% of the atlantid species registered for the Pacific Ocean, was analyzed during a period of warm anomalies with the presence of El Niño 2015-2016 and the 2014-2016 Marine Heat Wave (MHW).The species distribution showed three groups: two in the north (coastal and oceanic) and one to the south. The limit of distribution between these three groups was found in the vicinity of Punta Eugenia (PE). The southernmost community of atlantids was characterized by tropical and subtropical species that were transported northward due to coastal advection of warm waters associated with El Niño 2015-2016. North of PE, the warm-water affinity oceanic species Atlanta rosea and A. fragilis were found, evidencing the entrance of water from the Central Pacific related to MHW which affected the oceanic region off the coast of PE. The response of the distribution patterns proves that atlantids can be used as environment biological indicators, as they reflect the effect of environmental anomalies in the southern CCR.