The settlement of marine larvae is influenced by a wide range of physical and biological factors. It is still poorly known how the nature of substrate and the biofilm can interact in regulating settlement patterns of invertebrate larvae. Here we use laboratory experiments focused oil settlement behaviour of the barnacle Balanus amphitrite. The aim of this work is to understand whether: (i) the nature of substratum can affect biofilm formation and its structure, (ii) the nature of substratum can affect B. amphitrite larval settlement, (iii) the age of the biofilms and the nature of substrate can interact in influencing larval settlement. Four kinds of substrata (marble, quartz, glass, and cembonit) were biofilmed under laboratory conditions for 5, 10 and 20 days at the temperature of 28degreesC. Settlement response was investigated with 5-day-old cyprids. Biofilms were quantitatively and qualitatively analysed by scanning electron microscopy. The settlement of B. amphitrite larvae significantly differed among substrata; also, the patterns of development of biofilm assemblages changed with substrate. In addition, the larval attractiveness of different substrates tends to disappear with biofilm age.
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