Barnacles mussels relationship help

barnacles mussels relationship help

Download scientific diagram | Relationship between mean mussel (solid circles) and barnacle (open circles) adult abundance and mean gastropod and sea star. If you walk along the sea shore, you can find barnacles on almost any solid surface that gets covered by water. On rocks, dock pilings, boats, even mussels, you. Dec 15, Regressions of numbers of individuals in relation to patch area showed that that recruitment of barnacles and mussels is not limited by larval abundance. .. also acknowledges financial support given by Beca de Instruc-.

Not only is there an increased surface area on which to settle, which keeps down competition, but sitting near the mussel's siphons - the intake and outflow pipes through which it draws water to filter out microscopic morsels of food - the barnacles also benefit from the delivery of food carried along on the micro-currents. This is one of the closest symbiotic associations seen on rocky shores, but it raises the question of whether the arrangement is a fair one, or actually more of a one way street for the barnacles.

Barnacles are the klingons of the marine world and a mussel with one or more of them sticking to its shell incurs increased competion for food and is also subjected to much greater drag as water flows across the uneven-shaped appendages rather than slipping off the normally streamlined shell.

barnacles mussels relationship help

This means the mussels must invest more energy in feeding and in growing a better beard or "byssus" of threads to anchor themselves in place. So the overall question is whether or not the barnacles are significantly inconveniencing the mussels?

Desiccation, predation, and mussel-barnacle interactions in the northern Gulf of California.

Marine researchers Christian Buschbaum and Bettina Saier believed this was the case after carrying out a study in the Wadden Sea, in Germany, which showed reduced growth of mussels that had barnacles on their shells. But the answer to this question is even more relevant when we're considering the coastal waters of South Africa. Because here an invasive species of blue mussel, Mytilus galloprovincialis, has out-competed the indigenous species that once dominated the west coast.

The same story is playing out on the south-east coast where another indigenous mussel species, Perna perna, is being similarly impacted. So the epibiotic from the Greek 'live ontop' relationship between barnacles and mussels might have a varying impact depending upon the mussel species, and understanding this could help to deal with the invasive blue mussel species.

The increased drag caused by epibiotic barnacles is more problematic for invasive blue mussels because they tend to attach themselves less strongly than the indigenous Perna species.

Barnacles "mussel" in

So barnacle-infested blue mussels might suffer a higher mortality rate in sites where it is harder to cling on, for instance where the waves and currents are stronger. Already a divide is emerging between the sites where the invasive and native mussels are found.

barnacles mussels relationship help

This is caused by both post and pre-settlement factors as well as different growing seasons for the two species. It may be possible to exaggerate this divide but first we need to know just how happily both these mussel species live alongside the barnacles attached to them and whether this epibiotic relationship is one of 'peace and harmony' or reluctant tolerance.

Desiccation, predation, and mussel-barnacle interactions in the northern Gulf of California.

After selecting a spot, the barnacle secures itself head-first to the surface with a brown glue. This glue is so strong, the barnacle's cone base is left behind long after the creature has died.

Dentists are now studying this glue for its adhesive properties. Now the larva is ready to grow into an adult and build its tough housing. From "The Intertidal Zone.

barnacles mussels relationship help

The barnacle secretes the calcium-hard plates which totally encase them. These white cones have six nearly fitted plates that form a circle around the crustacean. Four more plates form a "door" which the barnacle can open or close, depending on the tide. When the tide goes out, the barnacle closes shop to conserve moisture.

Difference Between Mussels & Barnacles | Sciencing

As the tide comes in, a muscle opens up these four plates, and the feathery legs of the barnacle sift the water for food. All six pairs of these feather-like feeding appendages, called cirri, are jointed and set with sensory hairs which brush through the water collecting plankton for the barnacle to eat.

barnacles mussels relationship help

The legs also have gills for gas exchange. Not only does the growing barnacle have to deal with its surrounding house, it is also constrained by its own shell made from chitin, the same material as lobster shells and insect exoskeletons. And that can create a tight living arrangement for the creature. Like lobsters, barnacles shed their shell when it gets too small for them.

barnacles mussels relationship help

But since they never leave their plated homes, they must enlarge their current one. No one is quite sure how the barnacle accomplishes this home renovation, but there is probably a chemical secretion that dissolves the inner layers while new material is added to the outside. Most barnacles are hermaphrodites, meaning they have both male and female sex organs. But to create baby barnacles, they must be fertilized by a neighbor.