Variation among families for characteristics of the adhesive plaque in the barnacle Balanus amphitrite.
A quantitative genetics approach was used to examine variation in the characteristics of the adhesive plaque of the barnacle Balanus amphitrite Darwin attached to two silicone substrata. Barnacles settled on silicone polymer films occasionally form thick, soft adhesive plaques, in contrast to the thin, hard plaques characteristic of attachment to other surfaces. The proportion of barnacles producing a thick adhesive plaque was 0.31 for Veridian, a commercially available silicone fouling-release coating, and 0.18 for Silastic T-2, a silicone rubber used for mold-making. For both materials, significant variation among maternal families in the proportion of barnacles producing a thick adhesive plaque was observed, which suggests the presence of genetic variation, or maternal environmental effects, for this plaque characteristic. For the Veridian coating, barnacles expressing the thick adhesive plaque also exhibited significantly reduced tenacity. This represents the first reported case for potential genetic control of intraspecific phenotypic variation in the physical characteristics and tenacity of the adhesive of a fouling invertebrate.
Holm, ER; Orihuela, B; Kavanagh, CJ; Rittschof, D
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