Recent changes in the distribution of a marine gastropod, Patella rustica Linnaeus, 1758, and their relationship to unusual climatic events


Lima, Fernando P., Queiroz, Nuno, Ribeiro, Pedro A., Hawkins, Stephen J. and Santos, Antonio M. (2006) Recent changes in the distribution of a marine gastropod, Patella rustica Linnaeus, 1758, and their relationship to unusual climatic events. Journal of Biogeography, 33, (5), 812-822. (doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2006.01457.x).

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Description/Abstract

Aim  Recent colonization of northern Portuguese shores by Patella rustica Linnaeus, 1758, led to the bridging of a historical gap in the distribution known since the 1900s. Long-term oceanographic data collected over the last half-century were examined in order to detect possible mechanisms for the observed change in its distribution.

Location  This study was carried out along the entire Portuguese coastline, from 41°50′ to 37°06′ N. Time-series of hydrographical variables (sea surface temperature and salinity) were derived for the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula.

Methods  Abundance and size-frequency distributions of the newly observed limpet populations were compared with those from well-established populations in southern Portugal. Anomalies were computed for sea surface temperature (1950–2000) and sea surface salinity (1958–2001) data, covering the whole Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula. An upwelling index (1967–2005) was derived for a single location within the distributional gap of P. rustica. Split moving window analysis was performed to detect significant discontinuities in hydrographical data sets.

Results Patella rustica has gradually been expanding in northern Iberia, and in the late 1990s the historical gap in distribution in northern Portugal was bridged. Size-frequency distribution differed between historical and recent populations, the latter lacking small-sized individuals. At the same time, several anomalous oceanographic events occurred off the Portuguese coast and were probably related to this expansion.

Main conclusions  Although sea surface temperature might be a major determinant of the reproductive success of P. rustica and hence its dispersal potential, it is more likely that a coincidence of several factors occurring in the late 1990s provided exceptional conditions that allowed the geographical expansion of this species.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0305-0270 (print)
1365-2699 (electronic)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Ocean & Earth Science (SOC/SOES)
ePrint ID: 188161
Date Deposited: 20 May 2011 13:42
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 19:41
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/188161

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