The world is full of various species whose life and survival depend on the physical environment and weather. Different species are adapted to different living conditions respectively. Some living organisms are adapted to live in hot and dry conditions while others can survive in extremely cold climatic conditions. This paper is a report based on lab experiments from a virtual field trip, specifically to the Scotland coast. The experiment involves the exploration of marine life along the coast. The aim is to experiment on Chthamalus and Semibalanus, which comprise of two kinds of barnacles. The report shows how the two species live and why they live in different depths characterized by different conditions.
The experiment has the tidal movement of seawater altering the water depth, as the control experiment. Low tides lead to the exposure of barnacles especially on the rock’s upper part to the air. It thus becomes difficult for the barnacles to endure on this rock’s upper part. It is also very challenging for the barnacles to be submerged within a long time under the water. This aspect shows that barnacles are affected negatively in extreme conditions. Competition is also another source of threat to their survival. In this case, a large barnacle could settle on top of another but stationary and adult barnacle or next to it reducing the chances of survival of the affected barnacle. Still, on their challenges, barnacles could result to the death of their neighbors through poisoning or any kind of fighting. All these challenges could be the key reason why there are two species of barnacles, as found on the simulated rock wall during the experiment. These two species are Chthamalus and Semibalanus, which live high on rocks and low down the rock, respectively (Velayudhan, 1987).
- What does the experiment establish about the differences between the two species of barnacles different with respect to where they live?
- What factors dictate their living environments?
- Why is there a difference in where each of the two species lives?
The study was conducted to find out how the two species of barnacles differ, where each of the species live, and the reason why each of the species lives in their respective environments under the respective conditions.
The hypotheses are based on the assumptions and facts made about each of the two species and why they live within their respective conditions. The hypotheses are made up of the null hypothesis for each species and an alternative hypothesis for each species as well. The hypotheses are as follows:
- H0: Both the Chthamalus species and the Semibalanus species live high on the rock within their entire reproductive age.
- H1: The two species, the Chthamalus species, and the Semibalanus species do not live high on the rock through their entire reproductive age.
The experiment was based on an actual field trip of exploring the marine life of Scotland’s coast. Along Scotland’s shore, it was expected that the research encounters a large rock’s side upon which Chthamalus and Semibalanus were to be found. Chthamalus and Semibalanus are the two species of barnacles to be studied through a simulated system, in which the water depth was bound to decrease whenever sea tides went out. The decrease in water depth leads to the exposure of barnacles found on the rock’s upper part, to the air. The barnacles on the lower section of the rock would alternatively be submerged for a long period before the low tides expose them to some favorable conditions such as light and air. In the experiment, it is could be established that the barnacles on the two sides face some level of extreme conditions, which place challenges to their healthy living.
The experiment results show that barnacles are faced with many challenges. These challenges affect the barnacles different given the fact that some barnacles would adjust to the prevailing harsh conditions while others would not survive such extreme conditions. Some barnacles would die during low tides after being exposed to the air for too long. Other barnacles would hardly survive in the low rock part where they face extreme conditions caused by being submerged for a very long time. This happens especially when the low tides can hardly reach the barnacles within the low part of the rock. Most of the barnacles would be concentrated within the part where extreme conditions hardly exist. This would often be the section between the high rock part and the low section of the rock. The way the barnacles exist depends on their ability to adapt to the two different conditions, which result from the water depth. The Semibalanus species was found to be living low down the rock while the Chthamalus species was found to be living high on the rock. In either case, the number of barnacles is found to be lowest in both extremes. This could be shown in the table below:
Table 1: Average weight and number of barnacles at different depths (Velayudhan, 1987)
|Depth (m)||Dominating Barnacle Species||Average Weight of barnacle||Number of barnacles||Algae (as food) in grams/3200cm3|
|1 (High on the Rock)||Chthamalus||26.70||149||1.09|
|2 (High on the Rock)||Mostly Chthamalus||36.24||302||0.15|
|3||An almost equal number of the two species||34.03||346||0.01|
|4 (Down the Rock)||Semibalanus||18.40||263||–|
|5 (Low down the Rock)||Semibalanus||16.37||116||–|
From the graph, the population of barnacles is least in both extremes but lowest towards the lower side of the rock. This would be affected by limited food due to cold conditions for the growth of food substances such as algae. At the highest side of the rock, drying out could be the main cause of the low population. Only a few surviving barnacles have adapted to these different conditions (Velayudhan, 1987).
Barnacles developed into two distinct species because of their lives in different living conditions. Environment plays a critical role in altering the genetic characteristics of organisms. An organism would adjust to its immediate environment in order to survive. This aspect applies to the barnacles as well, in which the barnacles living high on the rocks have to adapt in a way that would increase their chances of survival during periods of low tides. They develop genetic and physical traits that enable them to withstand the harsh conditions such as being exposed to the air when the tides are low (Velayudhan, 1987).
On the other hand, barnacles living low down the rock are forced by such environmental conditions to adjust to the extreme conditions of being submerged for long and having limited sources of air, sunlight, and warmth. The medium level of the rock seems to be the most suitable part with living conditions that would favor the two species. This part would in contrary be too congested to enhance a healthy survival. Due to increased completion in this part, barnacles tend to look for free space in the extreme sections (Velayudhan, 1987). The Chthamalus species would find it easier to live high on the rocks while the Semibalanus species would be adapted best to live low down the rock. These adaptations explain why the two species are different and live in different conditions within the rock.
Barnacles are marine crustaceans with feathery food-catching appendages. They free-swimming as larvae but their level of movement and survival are limited by the prevailing environmental conditions. They are faced with the need to change genetically if they have to survive the three major challenges they face during their life. These challenges include exposure to air during low tides, being submerged for too long and high survival competition. The high competition places pressure on the barnacle to move either high on the rock or low down the rock to enhance their survival chances. They are faced with different extreme conditions, which make them adapt accordingly in order to survive. These adjustments contribute to the formation of the two different species of barnacles. Those living low down the rock have shells that open for its feathery legs to filter water for food substances (Velayudhan, 1987).
Those living high on the rock have shells, which closes to hold water that protects them from drying out. The young ones are free and mobile, a factor that helps them to decide where they would live their adult life. Their choice would be controlled by the existing competition within their environments. From this aspect, it can be concluded that barnacles have their species determined by the prevailing environmental conditions, breading, and competition (Velayudhan, 1987). The alternative hypothesis that the two species, the Chthamalus species, and the Semibalanus species do not live high on the rock through their entire reproductive age is accepted. The null hypothesis that both the Chthamalus species and the Semibalanus species live high on the rock within their entire reproductive age is rejected.
Velayudhan, T. S. (1987). Studies on the Settlement of Barnacles at Different Depths in the Pearl oyster Farm at Tuticorin. CMFRI Bulletin, 42(2), 300-305.
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