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The role of spatial and size refuges in the interaction between juvenile barnacles and grazing limpets Miller, Kristina Marie


The effect of grazing by limpets (Collisella digitalis) on the distribution and abundance of three species of juvenile barnacles (Balanus glandula, Balanus crenatus, and Semibalanus cariosus) was assessed using slate settling plates with different types of refuges, as well as the use of fenced areas on natural rock. The two possible effects of limpets on juvenile barnacles', namely ingestion and bulldozing, in relation to types of refuges utilized, were further studied in the laboratory. The field studies showed that while shallow depressions offered only minimal refuge against being grazed, proximity to adult barnacles was a more effective refuge. The minimal degree of protection offered by depressions is explained by the unexpected ability of the limpets to graze and ingest juvenile barnacles from most depressions. When Balanus glandula and Balanus crenatus reached a basal area of 5-6.7mm² , the barnacles had obtained a refuge in size from mortality caused by the activity of Collisella digitalis. Semibalanus cariosus reached a refuge-size at a smaller basal area and, thus, at a younger age, due to its overall stronger attachment to the substrate.

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