|Title||Seasonal and decadal changes in distribution patterns of Halobates (Hemiptera: Gerridae) populations in the eastern tropical Pacific|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2014|
|Authors||Engels M., Correia L., Piwinski S., Cheng L.N, Zettler E.|
|Type of Article||Article|
|Keywords||abundance; biology; heat coma; heteroptera gerridae; insects; marine; oceanic sea skaters; phylogeny; Plankton; separate populations; spp.|
Five species of the marine insect Halobates share similar ecology but have distinct biogeographic ranges in the eastern tropical Pacific, a region from approximately 75A degrees W-160A degrees W and 10A degrees S-35A degrees N. Between 2001 and 2010, the Sea Education Association collected Halobates from 682 neuston tows (surface net 1 m x 0.5 m, 335-mu m mesh) during fifteen cruises between San Diego, USA, Mexico and Tahiti. Total Halobates spp. densities varied substantially from year to year, but our data do not show a sustained change from a data set collected 40 years earlier from 1967 to 1968 (Cheng and Shulenberger in Fish Bull 78(3):579-591, 1980). Halobates are sensitive to sea surface temperature and we observed significant differences in species distributions over time, but these were not due to differences in water temperature or climate change. Our analyses show that the patterns observed are attributable to substantial but previously undescribed seasonal shifts that occur each year in the ranges for both Halobates sobrinus and Halobates micans. There is substantial overlap in ranges during seasonal shifts, but very little co-occurrence of H. sobrinus and H. micans in individual net tows, suggesting biological mechanisms rather than physical factors are restricting distribution and co-occurrence of these two species.