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Using biomimetic loggers to measure interspecific and microhabitat variation in body temperatures of rocky intertidal invertebrates

Justin A. Lathlean A C , David J. Ayre A , Ross A. Coleman B and Todd E. Minchinton A

A Institute for Conservation Biology and Environmental Management & School of Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia.
B Centre for Research on Ecological Impacts of Coastal Cities, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.
C Corresponding author. Email: jlathlean@gmail.com

Marine and Freshwater Research - http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF13287
Submitted: 1 November 2013  Accepted: 13 March 2014   Published online: 26 November 2014


 
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Abstract

Until recently, marine scientists have relied heavily on satellite sea surface temperatures and terrestrial weather stations as indicators of the way in which the thermal environment, and hence the body temperatures of organisms, vary over spatial and temporal scales. We designed biomimetic temperature loggers for three species of rocky intertidal invertebrates to determine whether mimic body temperatures differ from the external environment and among species and microhabitats. For all three species, microhabitat temperatures were considerably higher than the body temperatures, with differences as great as 11.1°C on horizontal rocky substrata. Across microhabitats, daily maximal temperatures of the limpet Cellana tramoserica were on average 2.1 and 3.1°C higher than body temperatures of the whelk Dicathais orbita and the barnacle Tesseropora rosea respectively. Among-microhabitat variation in each species’ temperature was equally as variable as differences among species within microhabitats. Daily maximal body temperatures of barnacles placed on southerly facing vertical rock surfaces were on average 2.4°C cooler than those on horizontal rock. Likewise, daily maximal body temperatures of whelks were on average 3.1°C cooler within shallow rock pools than on horizontal rock. Our results provide new evidence that unique thermal properties and microhabitat preferences may be important determinants of species’ capacity to cope with climate change.

Additional keywords: Australia, barnacle, Cellana tramoserica, climate change, Dicathais orbita, habitat temperature, limpet, Tesseropora rosea, whelk.


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