|Hesperibalanus hesperius and Onchidoris bilamellata on a|
settlement plate. Can you tell which is which?
I found barnacles. Hesperibalanus hesperius, to be exact, which is a poorly-understood and little-known species. And I found lots of them. What I thought would be an exploration of the biodiversity of recruits on isolated hard substrata turned out to be a story about barnacles. They colonized my settlement plates in high numbers, and they brought predators with them. For example, I found plenty of Onchidoris bilamellata, a nudibranch (sea slug) that is a barnacle predator. It actually looks like them, too - it's white and kind of nubby and can make itself into a mound shape. Check out the photo above to see what I mean.
My challenge now is to turn my barnacle data into a meaningful scientific analysis. We'll see how this goes!