Marine Biology

, Volume 150, Issue 3, pp 399–413 | Cite as

Ecological impacts on the limpet Lottia gigantea populations: human pressure over a broad scale on island and mainland intertidal zones

  • Raphael D. SagarinEmail author
  • Richard F. Ambrose
  • Bonnie J. Becker
  • John M. Engle
  • Janine Kido
  • Steven F. Lee
  • C. Melissa Miner
  • Steven N. Murray
  • Peter T. Raimondi
  • Dan Richards
  • Christy Roe
Research Article


Here long-term monitoring data taken at 33 sites in southern and central California coast and islands were used to evaluate the size structure of the large intertidal limpet, Lottia gigantea in restricted-access and in easily accessible intertidal zones that encompass a wide range of ecological variables. Using multi-dimensional analysis of population size structures, we found that sites on islands and strictly protected mainland sites have significantly larger median limpet sizes and a greater range of limpet sizes than unprotected mainland sites, while no pattern occurs in latitudinal or regional comparison of sites. Although intertidal predators such as oystercatchers were not the primary focus of the monitoring efforts, extensive natural history notes taken during sampling visits support the argument that predation was not a primary cause for the size structure differences. Finally, substratum differences were determined not to have biased the observation of larger limpets in protected sites. In regard to human interactions with limpets, we conclude that the degree of enforcement against poaching is the better predictor of limpet size structure than proximity to population centers or visitation to intertidal sites.


Shell Length Size Structure Protected Site Channel Island Island Site 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Research by MARINe was sponsored by the U.S. Minerals Management Service (Pacific OCS Region), U.S. National Park Service, U.S. Navy, California Coastal Commission, San Diego Association of Governments and County of Santa Barbara. We thank MMS employees M.E. Dunaway, M. Hill, M. Pierson, A. Bull, F. Piltz, and D. Panzer for their help with data collection. We also thank our non-author technicians and many volunteers who helped collect data. This work was performed in part at the University of California Natural Reserve System, Santa Cruz Island Reserve on property owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy. We are grateful to Cojo-Bixby & Hollister Ranches, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Fort Rosecrans Military Reservation, and the Hearst Corporation for access to sites. Map was created using Online Map Creation interface by Martin Weinelt ( All work described here complies with current laws of the United States of America. This is contribution number 212 from PISCO, the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans: a long-term Ecological Consortium funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raphael D. Sagarin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Richard F. Ambrose
    • 2
  • Bonnie J. Becker
    • 3
  • John M. Engle
    • 4
  • Janine Kido
    • 5
  • Steven F. Lee
    • 2
  • C. Melissa Miner
    • 6
  • Steven N. Murray
    • 7
  • Peter T. Raimondi
    • 6
  • Dan Richards
    • 8
  • Christy Roe
    • 6
  1. 1.Institute of the EnvironmentUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Environmental Science and Engineering Program, Department of Environmental Health SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Cabrillo National MonumentSan DiegoUSA
  4. 4.Marine Science InstituteUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA
  5. 5.Department of Biological ScienceCalifornia State UniversityFullertonUSA
  6. 6.Long Marine LaboratoryUniversity of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA
  7. 7.Department of Biological Science and College of Natural Sciences and MathematicsCalifornia State UniversityFullertonUSA
  8. 8.Channel Islands National ParkVenturaUSA

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