Effects of settler size and density on early post-settlement survival of Ciona intestinalis in the field

Dustin J. Marshall, Michael J. Keough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Effects of variation in larval quality on post-metamorphic performance in marine invertebrates are increasingly apparent. Recently, it has been shown that variation in offspring size can also strongly affect post-settlement survival, but variation in environmental conditions can mediate this effect. The quality of habitat into which marine invertebrate larvae settle can vary markedly, and 1 influence on quality is the number of conspecifics present. We tested the effects of settler size and settler density on early (1 wk after settlement) post-settlement survival in the field for the solitary ascidian Ciona intestinalis. Larger settlers survived better than smaller settlers, within and among groups of siblings. Increases in the density of settlers decreased survival, but the density-dependent effects were much stronger for smaller settlers. We suggest that larger settlers are better able to cope with intra-specific competition because they have greater energetic reserves or a greater capacity to feed than smaller settlers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-144
Number of pages6
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sep 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Carry-over effects
  • Density-dependence
  • Offspring size
  • Recruitment

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