Most marine ecologists believe that larvae of barnacles and mussels hitch a ride on offshore currents in the presence of upwelling, therefore most of the larvae are absent from coastal intertidal zones. Jon Witman and his team members have recently concluded that barnacles are actually present in zones with vertical upwelling and attach onto rock walls even more when the current is stronger. In vertical current zones the larvae are being bounced up against the rocky walls and find a spot to latch onto according to Witman. He refers to this process as "a contact game" where the larvae are using the rocks to settle. This study can change how scientist view the effect upwelling has on marine communities. Witman and his team believe that this study can prove true to other rocky intertidal organisms and ecosystems as well, if more underwater experiments are conducted.
The full article gives more insight into the study Witman and his team conducted.
- Image: Barnacles, credit to Jon Witman and Brown University