Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK

Habitat characters of Tigriopus californicus (Copepoda: Harpacticoida), with notes on the dispersal of supralittoral fauna

James J.  Powlik a1
a1 Raggedtooth Productions, 9919A Gable Ridge Terrace, Rockville, MD 20850, USA


Supralittoral splashpools representing 312,000 m2 of shoreline in Barkley Sound, British Columbia, were surveyed seasonally for tidal elevation, size, water properties, macroflora and faunal constituents coincident with colonization by Tigriopus californicus (Arthropoda: Copepoda). Overall, 90.1% of pools containing T. californicus were found between 3.0 and 5.0 m above lowest normal tide, with an average surface area-to-volume ratio of 7.06. Copepod populations were found at water temperatures of 6–33°C; salinity of <1–139 psu; pH of 6.1–9.5; and of 1.1–13.7 mg l−1 oxygen. Sediment and vegetation was sparse in T. californicus pools (mean cover 15.79±10.6% in 9.4±11.1% of pools, all species), and consisted most commonly of Enteromorpha compressa and Scytosiphon lomentaria and its Ralfsia-like alternate phase. Common fauna included mites, amphipods, littorines, and nematodes, with the highest diversity of co-inhabitants occurring in spring. Factors such as wind, wave action, and incidental fauna are discussed as potential agents of dispersal for splashpool copepods.