Assessment of a trap for measuring larval supply of intertidal barnacles on wave-swept, semi-exposed shores.

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Larval supply and settlement of Semwibalanus balanoides (L.) on a semi-exposed wave-swept shore in E Scotland were assessed by means of a new larval trap design. Two midshore sites were utilised throughout the peak of the 2001 settlement season (May 11 - June 3). Larval supply was quantified by 176 ml baffled cylinder traps filled with a 4-M killing solution of urea in seawater. Larval trap washout of urea typically ranged from similar to 25% per day under minimal wave action to a maximum of 39% under heavy wave action during an onshore gale. The maximum capture for a single trap was 334 cyprids over one tide. Significant and consistent positional effects, both on urea retention and larval capture, were found for replicate traps separated by 9 cm. These indicated fine-scale variations in hydrodynamic flow and larval supply over the substratum which will have implications for the quantification of spatial heterogeneity of larval input to the benthos. The retention of urea and larval capture efficiency generally were not compromised by traps being serviced daily, as opposed to tidally, except perhaps for captures at very low larval densities. Larval supply measured on a tidal basis was strongly correlated between sites (r = 0.975), but supply at Site C was - 5 x that at Site T: the reduction at Site T could not be explained by its slightly shorter immersion time and hence 'availability' of cyprids alone. At Site C settlement was quantified for 5 x 5 cm quadrats of natural substratum cleared daily. Settlement on these clearances (subject to possible grazing by limpets) was quantified only from May 20 - June 3, after the peak of larval supply on May 17, and the variation in larval supply explained 65% of the variance in settlement. The larval supply/settlement relationship at Site T was quantified using grooved acrylic panels. A high correlation coefficient (0.961) was obtained for the daily supply/settlement relationship for these panels over the period May 15 - June 3, which included the peak of supply. Larval supply varied up to 15-fold within a site on consecutive tides and up to 100-fold between sites on the same tide. Although further improvements to both the larval trap and the settlement panels can be made, this larval trap does appear capable of providing high-resolution data on tidal or daily larval supply over a wide range of wave conditions and larval concentrations. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-269
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2003


  • cyprid
  • larval supply
  • panel
  • Semibalanus balanoides
  • settlement
  • trap


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