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Correlation between surface chemistry and settlement behaviour in barnacle cyprids (Balanus improvisus)

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nicholas Aldred, Professor Tony Clare


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In laboratory-based biofouling assays, the influence of physico-chemical surface characteristics on barnacle settlement has been tested most frequently using the model organism Balanus amphitrite (= Amphibalanus amphitrite). Very few studies have addressed the settlement preferences of other barnacle species, such as Balanus improvisus (= Amphibalanus improvisus). This study aimed to unravel the effects of surface physico-chemical cues, in particular surface-free energy (SFE) and surface charge, on the settlement of cyprids of B. improvisus. The use of well-defined surfaces under controlled conditions further facilitates comparison of the results with recent similar data for B. amphitrite. Zero-day-old cyprids of B. improvisus were exposed to a series of model surfaces, namely self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of alkanethiols with varying end-groups, homogenously applied to gold-coated polystyrene (PS) Petri dishes. As with B. amphitrite, settlement of cyprids of B. improvisus was influenced by both SFE and charge, with higher settlement on low-energy (hydrophobic) surfaces and negatively charged SAMs. Positively charged SAMs resulted in low settlement, with intermediate settlement on neutral SAMs of similar SFE. In conclusion, it is demonstrated that despite previous suggestions to the contrary, these two species of barnacle show similar preferences in response to SFE; they also respond similarly to charge. These findings have positive implications for the development of novel antifouling (AF) coatings and support the importance of consistency in substratum choice for assays designed to compare surface preferences of fouling organisms.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Di Fino A, Petrone L, Aldred N, Ederth T, Liedberg B, Clare AS

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Biofouling

Year: 2014

Volume: 30

Issue: 2

Pages: 143-152

Print publication date: 06/12/2013

ISSN (print): 0892-7014

ISSN (electronic): 1029-2454

Publisher: Taylor & Francis


DOI: 10.1080/08927014.2013.852541


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Funder referenceFunder name
237997European Community
N00014-08-1-1240Office of Naval Research
TD0906COST Action