Less inhibited with age? Larval age modifies responses to natural settlement inhibitors

Paul E. Gribben, Dustin J. Marshall, Peter D. Steinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


As larvae of marine invertebrates age, their response to settlement cues can change. This change can have significant consequences to both the ecology of these organisms, and to their response to antifouling coatings. This study examines how larval age affects the settlement response of larvae to two naturally derived settlement inhibitors, non-polar extracts from the algae Delisea pulchra and Dilophus marginatus, the former of which contains compounds that are in commercial development as antifoulants. Two species of marine invertebrates with non-feeding larvae were investigated: the bryozoans Watersipora subtorquata and Bugula neritina. Larval age strongly affected larval settlement, with older larvae settling at much higher rates than younger larvae. Despite having strong, inhibitory effects on young larvae, the non-polar extracts did not inhibit the settlement of older larvae to the same degree for both species studied. The results show that the effects of ecologically realistic settlement inhibitors are highly dependent on larval age. Given that the age of settling larvae is likely to be variable in the field, such age specific variation in settlement response of larvae may have important consequences for host-epibiont interactions in natural communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-106
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Biofouling
  • Bryozoan
  • Desperate larva hypothesis
  • Natural antifoulants
  • Settlement inhibition

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