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Surf zone physical and morphological regime as determinants of temporal and spatial variation in larval recruitment

  • Author(s): Shanks, AL
  • Morgan, SG
  • MacMahan, J
  • Reniers, AJHM
  • et al.
Abstract

Larvae of intertidal species develop in the coastal ocean, and the last body of water they must cross while migrating back to shore is the surf zone. We hypothesized that the surf zone is a semipermeable barrier to this shoreward migration and that differences in water exchange across the surf zone result in temporal and spatial variation in larval delivery to the shore. We tested the hypotheses that larval delivery 1) should increase with larger waves and 2) should be higher on more dissipative beaches than on more reflective beaches. We found a significant positive correlation between the daily averaged ratio of wave height to wave period (H/. T) and daily cyprid settlement at Dike Rock, California and Bastendorff Beach, Oregon, USA. We tested the second hypothesis by comparing populations of barnacles, limpets, and benthic algae on rocks on four more dissipative and six more reflective sandy beaches in northern California and southern Oregon. Newly recruited barnacles and limpets were significantly more abundant at more dissipative than reflective beaches, and the higher abundance was most likely due to differences in settlement rather than post-settlement mortality. The density and percent cover of barnacles and the density of limpets were significantly higher at more dissipative beaches. In contrast, the density and percent cover of algae were significantly higher at more reflective beaches. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that the surf zone is a semipermeable barrier to the shoreward migration of larvae and that differences in water exchange across the surf zone as function of the beach hydrodynamics result in temporal and spatial variation in larval delivery to the shore. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

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