Dataset: Patterns of recruitment of epifaunal species at Portsea, Victoria.


This study investigated the temporal and spatial patterns of recruitment of epifaunal species at Portsea. Recruitment panels were immersed at depths of 1 - 2.2 metres for 10 months (25/10/1975 - 11/9/1976) and 24 months (16/11/1977 - 14/11/1979) and at depths of 3 - 3.8m for 18 months (11/9/1976 - 18/5/1978). Each panel was divided into four quadrats (9 x 9cm) and the number of larvae recruits in each quadrat was recorded every 2 months using a binocular microscope. The replicate number of quadrats sampled every 2 months varied between 1 and 30 replicates. The mean number of larval recruits per quadrat for each period was calculated for each species at each depth.

An additional treatment ('complex substratum' treatment) was added to 2 panels for 2-month periods from 13/10/1976 to 12/10/1977 to assess the effects of substratum complexity on the recruitment of epifauna. The complex substratum treatment simulated the physical structure of a barnacle and arborescent bryozoan community. On each panel there was 1 quadrat that was a complex substratum treatment and 1 quadrat that was randomly chosen from the 3 remaining to be analysed as the control. Thus, there were 2 replicate quadrats of each treatment (complex substratum and control) per 2-month period. At the completion of each period all individuals and colonies of each species were counted in each quadrat.

Availability and abundance of settling larvae varied seasonally and annually. Rates of recruitment of larvae were greatest during spring, summer and autumn. Polychaetes, barnacles, hydroids, tubicolous amphipods and bryozoans recruited in greater abundance and more consistently throughout each year than did ascidians or sponges. A greater diversity of species settled on the complex substratum treatments and the density of settlement of some species was also higher.

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