Does developmental mode influence distribution patterns of megabenthic gastropods from the Uruguayan shelf?
Alvar Carranza, Fabrizio Scarabino and Leonardo Ortega

We analyzed the effect of development mode (direct vs. pelagic development) on the spatial structure of a megabenthic gastropod assemblage at a regional scale. The research was carried out along the bathymetric, saline and thermal gradients generated by the interaction between the shelf topography, the freshwater discharge of Río de la Plata and the presence of oceanic water masses. Direct developers dominated in terms of number of species in the entire area and when the inner and outer shelves were considered separately. Species with pelagic development were not observed to be ecologically successful (i.e. have higher abundances) on the inner shelf, which suggests that high environmental variability may not necessarily favour this strategy. No patterns were found in the relative abundance of species in each developmental mode between the inner (i.e. <50 m) and outer shelves. However, richness patterns of the two groups were differentially affected by environmental conditions. Species richness for direct developers was affected by mean annual temperature, bathymetry and longitude while pelagic developers showed evident trends in relation to temperature range and latitude. Further studies are necessary to derive general predictions concerning the relative advantages of each developmental type in relation to these gradients in ecological time scales and local or regional spatial scales.

Keywords: pelagic development, direct development, gastropods, Adelomelon, Zidona, Fusitriton, Cymatium, Thorson’s rule.
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 72(4) : 711-719 Back PDF
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