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Exploitation promotes earlier sex change in a protandrous patellid limpet, Patella aspera Röding, 1798

Exploitation promotes earlier sex change in a protandrous patellid limpet, Patella aspera Röding, 1798
Exploitation promotes earlier sex change in a protandrous patellid limpet, Patella aspera Röding, 1798
Exploitation of organisms can prompt the reduction in the number and size of target populations consequently affecting reproductive output and replenishment. Here, we investigated the effects of exploitation on the population structure of a protandrous patellid limpet, Patella aspera, an overexploited Macaronesian endemic. Timed dives were used to collect animals across eleven islands of Macaronesia. Individuals were inspected for sex, size, and gonad stage. Using catch effort (time per person) per island coastal perimeter as a surrogate for exploitation intensity, we found that limpet abundance (CPUE) and mean size tended to decrease with exploitation intensity. When considering the sex of animals separately, the size of the largest male, but not females, decreased with exploitation. In contrast, the size of the smallest male remained relatively consistent, whereas the size of the smallest female decreased significantly with exploitation. As exploitation is mostly targeting larger individuals, results suggest that males are compensating the removal of larger females, by undergoing sex change at smaller and presumably earlier sizes. These results have wider implications for the conservation of P. aspera, as a reduction in female size will likely affect the numbers of oocytes produced, hence fecundity. Regulations promoting the protection of the larger-sized animals should be enforced to safeguard the replenishment of the population.
2045-7758
3616–3622
Martins, Gustavo M.
c7156a0a-e15c-4b9f-9793-f24d8574e5bc
Borges, Carla D. G.
9f9ab3b5-ae57-4c19-a338-2cd116d751d0
Vale, Maria
efc48260-67dc-400e-9525-de5af3f3ad6c
Ribeiro, Pedro A.
833177c8-f9d6-4f02-91bd-8e6c3f783f4b
Ferraz, Rogério R.
1f77a4bc-ff96-44ba-845a-f5b46c6f13b1
Martins, Helen R.
556b1921-9738-4b87-bde8-ff05998f6687
Santos, Ricardo S.
8efe9cd5-5a98-48d5-8408-3e6a3ccb97e1
Hawkins, Stephen J.
758fe1c1-30cd-4ed1-bb65-2471dc7c11fa
Martins, Gustavo M.
c7156a0a-e15c-4b9f-9793-f24d8574e5bc
Borges, Carla D. G.
9f9ab3b5-ae57-4c19-a338-2cd116d751d0
Vale, Maria
efc48260-67dc-400e-9525-de5af3f3ad6c
Ribeiro, Pedro A.
833177c8-f9d6-4f02-91bd-8e6c3f783f4b
Ferraz, Rogério R.
1f77a4bc-ff96-44ba-845a-f5b46c6f13b1
Martins, Helen R.
556b1921-9738-4b87-bde8-ff05998f6687
Santos, Ricardo S.
8efe9cd5-5a98-48d5-8408-3e6a3ccb97e1
Hawkins, Stephen J.
758fe1c1-30cd-4ed1-bb65-2471dc7c11fa

Martins, Gustavo M., Borges, Carla D. G., Vale, Maria, Ribeiro, Pedro A., Ferraz, Rogério R., Martins, Helen R., Santos, Ricardo S. and Hawkins, Stephen J. (2017) Exploitation promotes earlier sex change in a protandrous patellid limpet, Patella aspera Röding, 1798. Ecology and Evolution, 7 (10), 3616–3622. (doi:10.1002/ece3.2925).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Exploitation of organisms can prompt the reduction in the number and size of target populations consequently affecting reproductive output and replenishment. Here, we investigated the effects of exploitation on the population structure of a protandrous patellid limpet, Patella aspera, an overexploited Macaronesian endemic. Timed dives were used to collect animals across eleven islands of Macaronesia. Individuals were inspected for sex, size, and gonad stage. Using catch effort (time per person) per island coastal perimeter as a surrogate for exploitation intensity, we found that limpet abundance (CPUE) and mean size tended to decrease with exploitation intensity. When considering the sex of animals separately, the size of the largest male, but not females, decreased with exploitation. In contrast, the size of the smallest male remained relatively consistent, whereas the size of the smallest female decreased significantly with exploitation. As exploitation is mostly targeting larger individuals, results suggest that males are compensating the removal of larger females, by undergoing sex change at smaller and presumably earlier sizes. These results have wider implications for the conservation of P. aspera, as a reduction in female size will likely affect the numbers of oocytes produced, hence fecundity. Regulations promoting the protection of the larger-sized animals should be enforced to safeguard the replenishment of the population.

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Accepted/In Press date: 21 February 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 13 April 2017
Published date: 1 May 2017
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science, Marine Biology & Ecology

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Local EPrints ID: 411732
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/411732
ISSN: 2045-7758
PURE UUID: 6fe9faa7-d0c0-4b2d-a2ee-7cebb60b581a

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Date deposited: 22 Jun 2017 16:32
Last modified: 26 Apr 2022 20:04

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Contributors

Author: Gustavo M. Martins
Author: Carla D. G. Borges
Author: Maria Vale
Author: Pedro A. Ribeiro
Author: Rogério R. Ferraz
Author: Helen R. Martins
Author: Ricardo S. Santos

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