Barnacles and their significance in biofouling
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Barnacles are dominant components of the rocky intertidal and macrofouling community. Studies related to their taxonomy, life cycle and attachment mechanisms have received considerable attention in view of the economic and industrial concern associated with biofouling. Integrating developmental biology and larval ecology facets of research with antifouling initiatives is important to arrive at meaningful and sustainable solutions. This review provides an overview of the biology, ecology and cues influencing settlement of acorn barnacles with special emphasis on Balanus amphitrite. This form is one of the favoured candidate organisms in antifouling studies. It is also perceivable that with an increase in demand for sea water as a coolant for several marine industrial applications in the near future, there would be increased pressure on the marine ecosystems. Larval dispersion will also be influenced by the global climate change scenario and the ensuing changes in biodiversity. In view of this it is opined that ecological forecasting be an integral part of biofouling assessment.
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