Upwelling affects food availability, impacting the morphological and molecular conditions of the herviborous limpet Fissurella crassa (Mollusca: Archeogastropoda)

José Pulgar, Marcela Aldana, Marco Alvarez, Roberto Garcia-Huidobro, Pilar Molina, Juan Pablo Morales, Víctor Manuel Pulgar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Oceanographical processes, such as upwelling, induce variations in nutrient availability in marine ecosystems, and evidence indicates that nutrient input can strongly influence the physiological activities, structure, and dynamics of marine communities. Intertidal organisms have long been considered ideal study units in which to quantify the relationship of physical variations and differential energy allocations in specimens that undergo environmental variations, such as observed with nutrient availability. In habitats with differential nutrient input (upwelling versus non-upwelling), both food availability (algae abundance) and seasonal gonadal and foot weight variations were determined in the keyhole limpet Fissurella crassa. Gonadal weight is used as a measure of reproduction allocation whereas foot weight is an indirect indicator of energy allocation towards survival. RNA:DNA ratio in limpets was used as an indicator of biosynthetic capability. Our results indicate that, in general, algae abundance, muscular foot weight, and gonadal weight were higher in upwelling sites during all seasons studied. The same result was found for RNA:DNA ratios. Energetic allocation in animals that inhabit intertidal upwelling habitats supported a constant allocation towards reproduction and soft tissues. In contrast, animals that inhabit non-upwelling habitats showed important energetic restrictions associated with higher water temperature and lower food availability. Our results clearly show that in the keyhole limpet F. crassa food availability is a more important determinant of an individual's condition than a physical variation such as environment temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)797-802
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
Volume93
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2013

Keywords

  • food availability
  • keyhole limpet
  • life histories
  • RNA:DNA ratio
  • upwelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science

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