Recruitment of the Intertidal Barnacle Semibalanus balanoides; Metamorphosis and Survival from Daily to Seasonal Timescales

Jonathan N. Blythe, Ph.D., 2008
Jesús Pineda, Advisor

The benthic habitat is the terminal destination for sessile marine animals. Seasonal changes in the benthic habitat may be a source of information for predicting recruit abundance and for marine resources management. Recruitment of benthic marine animals is influenced by two seasonally varying factors of the benthic habitat. First, the availability of suitable habitat for recruitment can in large part determine the survival probability for settlers. Descriptive statistics (Chapter 2) and a field experiment (Chapter 4) highlight the role of preemption on barnacle recruitment. The second factor results from seasonal changes in environmental conditions that settlers experience in the benthic habitat, which could affect the physiology and survival probability of barnacle settlers. These processes are compared to hypotheses about characteristics of pelagic larvae such as their quality and their density, and highly unpredictable features of recruitment dynamics, such as wind that enhances wave action in the rocky intertidal. Seasonal factors that vary at low frequencies lend tractability to study recruitment dynamics. It appears that barnacles have evolved to compete for suitable habitat and have mechanisms to cope with seasonally varying environmental conditions in the benthic habitat, which may be the basis for why these features dominate the barnacle recruitment dynamic.