Temporal changes in the strength of density-dependent mortality and growth in intertidal barnacles

S R Jenkins, J. Murua, Michael Burrows

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In demographically open marine systems, the extent to which density-dependent processes in the benthic adult phase are required for population persistence is unclear. At one extreme, represented by the recruitment limitation hypothesis, larval supply may be insufficient for the total population size to reach a carrying capacity and density-independent mortality predominates. At the opposite extreme, populations are saturated and density-dependent mortality is sufficiently strong to reshape patterns established at settlement. We examined temporal variation in the way density-independent and density-dependent mortality interact in a typical sessile marine benthic invertebrate, the acorn barnacle Semibalanus balanoides (L.), over a 2-year period. Recruitment was manipulated at two high recruitment sites in north Wales, UK to produce recruit densities covering the range naturally found in this species. Following manipulation, fixed quadrats were monitored using digital photography and temporal changes in mortality and growth rate were examined. Over a 2-year period there was a clear, spatially consistent, over-compensatory relationship between the density of recruits and adult abundance indicating strong density-dependent mortality. The strength of density dependence intensified with increasing recruitment. Density-dependent mortality did not operate consistently over the study period. It only operated in the early part of the benthic phase, but the pattern of adult abundance generated was maintained throughout the whole 2-year period. Thus, early life-history processes dictated adult population abundance and dynamics. Examination of the natural recruitment regime in the area of study indicated that both positive and negative effects of recruitment will occur over scales varying from kilometres to metres.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-584
Number of pages12
JournalJ ANIM ECOL
Volume77
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Keywords

  • Ecology
  • NATURAL-POPULATIONS
  • RECRUITMENT LIMITATION
  • Zoology
  • BALANUS-BALANOIDES
  • CHAMAESIPHO-TASMANICA FOSTER
  • POPULATION-DYNAMICS
  • POSTSETTLEMENT MORTALITY
  • SEMIBALANUS-BALANOIDES
  • NEW-SOUTH-WALES
  • CORAL-REEF FISH
  • LIMITED RECRUITMENT

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