Baby Barnacles have Arrived!

Monday, March 12, 2018 by Katie

The LabVenture! team counts the plankton that we collect off of the GMRI dock on a regular basis. We monitor the different types of plankton that are present throughout the year and are able to see when certain types of plankton are hatching out. Recently we have noticed the plankton samples bustling with baby barnacles!


Barnacle larvae are marine zooplankton, they are microscopic animals that live in the ocean and drift with the currents. The nauplius stage is the first stage of a barnacle's life. Barnacle nauplius larvae float in the water until they grow large enough to metamorphose into the planktonic cyprid stage. The cyprid stage is the last planktonic stage before they settle down and attach to a surface and build a hard shell around themselves. They are only planktonic for a short period during the first stages of their life.


These barnacle nauplius larva are very fun to identify and count. They have an oval or teardrop body with two antennae shorter than their body, pointy horns on each side of the head and appendages that stick out to the side and help with movement. They flap and flutter in the water very quickly, which makes them fun to watch.


Check out this video if you are interested to see how GMRI scientists count plankton in the lab!


Have you ever towed a plankton net or looked at a fascinating type of plankton?

Baby Barnacles have Arrived!

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