The effect of gregariousness in cyprid settlement assays
The in vitro settlement assay using cyprids of Balanus, amphitrite is an important tool in basic and applied research. The aim of this study was to quantify the effect of gregariousness within these assays, and to determine the interaction between gregariousness and container size, and settlement promoters and inhibitors. Assays with 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, and 40 cyprids in containers with a log range of surface area to volume ratios were conducted in a fully factorial design. Assays with the same range of cyprid numbers and six concentrations of the settlement promoter 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine (IBMX) or the inhibitor phloroglucinol were also conducted in a fully factorial design. Percentage settlement was analysed by GLM ANOVA. Significant (p < 0.05) gregarious effects were detected at ≥ 5 cyprids in a well. Surface area:volume ratio had a strong effect on cyprid settlement, but this effect could be masked by overcrowding in very small wells. Gregarious interactions between only five cyprids magnified the effect of IBMX by a factor of 10, whereas phloroglucinol had no effect without gregarious interactions. The cyprid settlement bioassay is a valuable tool for basic and applied research but must be used with care.
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Biofouling, 19 (4), 269-278