The Role of Season and Salinity in Influencing Barnacle Distributions in Two Adjacent Coastal Mangrove Lagoons
Barnacles are often abundant on roots and branches of mangrove trees in tidal channels and coastal lagoons of the Pacific coast of Panama. Yet, in some coastal lagoons, barnacles are absent. We investigated pre- and post-settlement factors that affect barnacle distributions in two adjacent coastal lagoons in Bahía Honda, Panama, one with moderate to large barnacle populations, and the other with nearly non-existent populations. Although mean barnacle recruitment was higher on mangrove root segments during the dry season (December–April) than in the wet season (May–November), it was not significantly different between the two coastal lagoons. The coastal lagoon with fewer barnacles is considered an estuary, with high freshwater flow and low salinities (0.1) during the wet season that were lethal to barnacle nauplii and cyprids. Furthermore, coastal water was not observed to enter the lagoon, even during flood tides. In contrast, more barnacles were found in the lagoon with higher salinities (8.5). During the dry season, freshwater flow was greatly reduced in both lagoons, resulting in a similar salinity range (22–33). We conclude that the lack of barnacles in the estuarine coastal lagoon is largely due to high flushing rates and low salinities that reduce larval concentrations during the wet season. Moreover, low adult abundance in the lagoon's interior may further reduce larval supply and settlement.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2011-07-01
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