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Range limits and geographic patterns of abundance of the rocky intertidal owl limpet, Lottia gigantea

Range limits and geographic patterns of abundance of the rocky intertidal owl limpet, Lottia gigantea
Range limits and geographic patterns of abundance of the rocky intertidal owl limpet, Lottia gigantea
Aim? We evaluate the stability of the range limits of the rocky intertidal limpet, Lottia gigantea, over the last c. 140 years, test the validity of the abundant centre hypothesis, and test indirectly the roles played by recruitment limitation and habitat availability in controlling the range limits. Because this species is size-selectively harvested, our results also allow us to assess conservation implications.

Location? The Pacific coast of North America, from northern California to southern Baja California (41.74° N–23.37° N), encompassing the entire range of L. gigantea.

Methods? The historical and modern distributions of L. gigantea were established using museum data and field observations. Overall and juvenile abundances of local populations were estimated at 25 field sites. The spatial distribution of abundance was evaluated statistically against the predictions of five hypothetical models. The availability of habitat was estimated by measuring the percentage of unavailable sandy beach within cumulative bins of coast across the range of L. gigantea.

Results? The northern limit of L. gigantea has contracted by c. 2.4° of latitude over recent decades (after 1963), while the southern limit has remained stable. The highest abundances of L. gigantea occur in the centre of its geographic range. Habitat availability is ample in the centre and northern portions of its range, but is generally lacking in the southern range. The northern range is only sparsely populated by adults, with sharp declines occurring north of Monterey Bay (36.80° N). In the southern range, abundance drops precipitously south of Punta Eugenia (27.82° N), coinciding with the region where suitable habitat becomes sparse.

Main conclusions? Support for the abundant centre hypothesis was found for L. gigantea. Northern populations are characterized as being recruitment-limited, demographically unstable and prone to local extinctions, while southern populations are suggested to be habitat-limited. The abundant centre is suggested to result partly from a combination of the indirect effects of human harvesting, generating denser populations of smaller individuals, and larval recruitment from well-protected offshore rocky islands primarily found in the range centre.
Abundant centre hypothesis, habitat availability, Lottia gigantea, macroecology, museum collections, Pacific Ocean, Patellogastropoda, range dynamics, range limits, size-selective harvesting
0305-0270
2286-2298
Fenberg, Phillip B.
c73918cd-98cc-41e6-a18c-bf0de4f1ace8
Rivadeneira, Marcelo M.
68afee2d-6288-4fbc-be7f-305c190a79c6
Fenberg, Phillip B.
c73918cd-98cc-41e6-a18c-bf0de4f1ace8
Rivadeneira, Marcelo M.
68afee2d-6288-4fbc-be7f-305c190a79c6

Fenberg, Phillip B. and Rivadeneira, Marcelo M. (2011) Range limits and geographic patterns of abundance of the rocky intertidal owl limpet, Lottia gigantea. Journal of Biogeography, 38 (12), 2286-2298. (doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2011.02572.x).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Aim? We evaluate the stability of the range limits of the rocky intertidal limpet, Lottia gigantea, over the last c. 140 years, test the validity of the abundant centre hypothesis, and test indirectly the roles played by recruitment limitation and habitat availability in controlling the range limits. Because this species is size-selectively harvested, our results also allow us to assess conservation implications.

Location? The Pacific coast of North America, from northern California to southern Baja California (41.74° N–23.37° N), encompassing the entire range of L. gigantea.

Methods? The historical and modern distributions of L. gigantea were established using museum data and field observations. Overall and juvenile abundances of local populations were estimated at 25 field sites. The spatial distribution of abundance was evaluated statistically against the predictions of five hypothetical models. The availability of habitat was estimated by measuring the percentage of unavailable sandy beach within cumulative bins of coast across the range of L. gigantea.

Results? The northern limit of L. gigantea has contracted by c. 2.4° of latitude over recent decades (after 1963), while the southern limit has remained stable. The highest abundances of L. gigantea occur in the centre of its geographic range. Habitat availability is ample in the centre and northern portions of its range, but is generally lacking in the southern range. The northern range is only sparsely populated by adults, with sharp declines occurring north of Monterey Bay (36.80° N). In the southern range, abundance drops precipitously south of Punta Eugenia (27.82° N), coinciding with the region where suitable habitat becomes sparse.

Main conclusions? Support for the abundant centre hypothesis was found for L. gigantea. Northern populations are characterized as being recruitment-limited, demographically unstable and prone to local extinctions, while southern populations are suggested to be habitat-limited. The abundant centre is suggested to result partly from a combination of the indirect effects of human harvesting, generating denser populations of smaller individuals, and larval recruitment from well-protected offshore rocky islands primarily found in the range centre.

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More information

Published date: December 2011
Keywords: Abundant centre hypothesis, habitat availability, Lottia gigantea, macroecology, museum collections, Pacific Ocean, Patellogastropoda, range dynamics, range limits, size-selective harvesting
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 358577
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/358577
ISSN: 0305-0270
PURE UUID: 71965e7e-f1ab-4480-841e-efbe69ebd248

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Date deposited: 08 Oct 2013 15:21
Last modified: 04 Nov 2019 20:31

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