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Scrosati RA.2019. Barnacle recruit density and size increase from high to middle intertidal elevations in wave-exposed habitats on the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia. PeerJ Preprints7:e27966v1https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.27966v1
Barnacle recruitment is often studied in rocky intertidal habitats due to the relevant role that barnacles can play in intertidal communities. In 2014, barnacle (Semibalanus balanoides) recruitment was measured at high elevations in wave-exposed intertidal habitats on the NW Atlantic coast in Nova Scotia, Canada. Values were considerably lower than previously reported for middle elevations in wave-exposed intertidal habitats on the NE Atlantic and NE Pacific coasts. To determine if such differences in recruitment may have resulted from elevation influences, I did a field experiment in 2019 in wave-exposed intertidal habitats in Nova Scotia to test the hypothesis that recruitment is higher at middle than at high elevations, based on known environmental differences between both elevation zones. Based on data from three locations spanning 158 km of the Nova Scotia coast, barnacle recruitment was, on average, nearly 200 % higher (and recruits were larger) at middle than at high elevations. However, even with this increase, barnacle recruitment on this NW Atlantic coast is still lower than for comparable habitats on the NE Atlantic and NE Pacific coasts, and also lower than previously reported for wave-exposed locations farther south on the NW Atlantic coast, in Maine, USA. Therefore, barnacle recruitment in wave-exposed intertidal environments in Nova Scotia appears to be only moderate relative to other shores. This difference in the supply of barnacle recruits might influence the intensity of interspecific interactions involving barnacles.