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On the Determinants of the Upper Limit of Intertidal Distribution of Barnacles (Crustacea: Cirripedia)

B. A. Foster
Journal of Animal Ecology
Vol. 40, No. 1 (Feb., 1971), pp. 33-48
DOI: 10.2307/3328
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3328
Page Count: 18
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On the Determinants of the Upper Limit of Intertidal Distribution of Barnacles (Crustacea: Cirripedia)
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Abstract

Observations on the distribution, water content and survival of barnacles in the field are interpreted in light of known responses to laboratory controlled physical factors. The blood concentration of Elminius modestus and Balanus balanoides naturally exposed to temporary fresh water influences during tidal emersion confirm that such factors are avoided by the closure of the opercular valves before the blood reaches intolerable dilutions. On a sheltered shore, desiccation death of both Elminius modestus and Balanus balanoides was observed at levels in the range between spring high tides. On an exposed shore, a fine weather spell caused marked desiccation death in the spat and adults of B. balanoides at high levels, lowering the upper limit of adult distribution. Chthamalus stellatus, however, was not affected. On both shores, the range of settlement of Balanus balanoides extended higher than the surviving adults of this species. Where they occur together, Elminius modestus extends higher on the shore than Balanus balanoides. In view of the similarity of these species in resisting desiccation stress and adverse salinity, and as the range of settlement of B. balanoides reaches at least as high as adults of Elminius modestus, the higher intertidal distribution of E. modestus is probably dependent on the chance occurrence of favourable conditions during emersion. A longer settlement season must give E. modestus a greater chance than Balanus balanoides of settling, growing and surviving high on the shore. Similar chance occurrences of favourable climatic conditions, possibly over several years, are probably important to the colonization and establishment of individuals of Chthamalus stellatus in the supralittoral regions of the shore.

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