Tar pellets and plastics as attachment surfaces for lepadid cirripedes in the North Atlantic Ocean

Minchin, D.

Marine Pollution Bulletin 32(12): 855-859


ISSN/ISBN: 0025-326X
DOI: 10.1016/s0025-326x(96)00045-8
Accession: 009516918

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The stalked barnacle, Dosima fascicularis, attaches to small particles of floating debris at settlement, its buoyancy is maintained by secretion of a gas filled float. Tar pellets lt 25 mm diameter and angular plastic fragments were the main attachment materials. Lepas pectinata attached to similar materials but of larger size, this species does not produce a float. Both species could be stranded on Irish coasts with tropical seeds, pumice or other oceanic organisms and frequently with plastics, some of these originating in North America. Early museum material in Britain and Ireland suggest tar pellets as a substratum for D. fascicularis were uncommon or rare. The preponderance of cirripedes on tar (63%) and plastics (21%) over the period 1986 to 1988 suggest a population expansion through an increase of available substrata of correct particle size. Dosima fascicularis, considered to be rare in Irish waters in previous years, may have been under-reported. This could be due to their rapid decay once stranded.