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MEPS prepress abstract   -  DOI:

Performance of a warm-water limpet species towards its poleward range edge compared to a colder-water congener

M. H. OrĂ³stica*, S. J. Hawkins, B. R. Broitman, S. R. Jenkins

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The demography and individual performance of species at their range edges provides important insight into how climate warming is impacting species distributions. The boreal limpet Patella vulgata and the Lusitanian limpet P. depressa have overlapping geographic ranges and local distributions in Britain. We measured individual performance at the 2 leading-edges of P. depressa distribution (North Wales and South/ South-east England) and in non-range edge populations in South-west England. Individuals of P. depressa towards both leading-edges were expected to have reduced growth rates and higher mortality rates when compared with non-range edge populations. Conversely, P. vulgata was expected to have equivalent performance across regions, which coincide with the centre of its range. Tagged individuals did not show between-species differences in growth and mortality over a 12 mo period. Nonetheless, individual growth rates and population mortality rates of both Patella species were higher towards the range-edge of P. depressa in South/ South-east England, when compared with populations at its poleward edge and those in South-west England. Further analysis showed that growth and mortality rates were higher in denser populations for both P. depressa and P. vulgata, with equivalent site-specific performance patterns for both species in all regions. Thus, performance patterns of P. depressa reflected local factors in the same way as P. vulgata, overriding patterns of declining performance expected towards species borders. Comparisons between key congeneric species and their unexpected patterns of performance across their ranges provide insights into processes setting species boundaries and thereby their responses to climate change.