A latitudinal gradient in recruitment of intertidal invertebrates in the northeast Pacific Ocean

Connolly, Sean, Menge, Bruce A., and Roughgarden, Joan (2001) A latitudinal gradient in recruitment of intertidal invertebrates in the northeast Pacific Ocean. Ecology, 82 (7). pp. 1799-1813.

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Abstract

A latitudinal gradient in the recruitment rates of intertidal mussels and barnacles was detected in the Northeast Pacific during 1996 and 1997. This gradient was approximately a stepcline: annual recruitment, on average, was 1-2 orders of magnitude higher in central and northern Oregon than in central and northern California. In contrast to the regional differences, large-scale gradients in recruitment within California were small: correlations of recruitment with latitude were weak, and, in all but one case, statistically insignificant. Nonetheless, trends in the data suggest that recruitment within central and northern California was highest between San Francisco and Monterey Bay, where larvae may be retained more nearshore than to the north or south. If so, apparently conflicting claims about latitudinal gradients in recruitment within California can be reconciled. The large scale transition in recruitment rates supports the hypothesis that a marked shift in the intensity of upwelling near Cape Blanco in southern Oregon is a major cause of a coincident transition in community structure. Stronger upwelling (and thus offshore flow) to the south has been hypothesized to transport larvae further offshore and thereby reduce larval supply to nearshore benthic communities. This study confirms that the predicted differences in recruitment exist, and that these differences are large. Preliminary calculations indicate that regional differences in offshore flow are likely to make a larger contribution to the recruitment transitions than several other plausible causes. In addition, recruitment transitions are larger, more abrupt, and more consistent across species than corresponding shifts in percentage cover, which favor competitive dominants. This supports model predictions that competition for space is more intense where recruitment is high. However, the absence of strong, large-scale recruitment gradients within California suggests that mesoscale processes are relatively more important than latitudinal trends in upwelling as determinants of community structure patterns at smaller scales.

Item ID: 1125
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: intertidal community; recruitment; upwelling; larval supply; larval transport; Balanus; Chthamalus; Mytilus
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Copyright by the Ecological Society of America Reproduced with permission from Ecological Society of America (ESA).

ISSN: 1939-9170
Date Deposited: 31 May 2007
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 0%
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