Spatial variation in elemental composition of otoliths of three species of fish (family Sparidae)

Gillanders, B.M., and Kingsford, M.J. (2003) Spatial variation in elemental composition of otoliths of three species of fish (family Sparidae). Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 57 (5-6). pp. 1049-1064.

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Determining the nursery habitat of fishes that have moved from estuarine nursery habitats is difficult. The elemental fingerprints of otoliths of three species of sparids were determined to investigate their utility as a natural tag of the nursery habitat. Juvenile Pagrus auratus (snapper), Rhabdosargus sarba (tarwhine) and Acanthopagrus australis (bream) were collected from two sites in each of 15, six and three estuaries, respectively, and their otoliths analysed by solution-based inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. Significant differences in otolith chemistry were found for all three species of juveniles collected from different estuaries. The same patterns among estuaries were not seen for all species, although it was not possible to sample the same sites within an estuary for all species. For bream, significant differences in otolith chemistry were found among all three estuaries, whereas for tarwhine the six estuaries were separated into three groups. For snapper, a number of estuaries could be separated, but there was some overlap for other estuaries. All three species were collected from the same site within one estuary and their otoliths analysed. Significant differences were found among species, but the implication of this finding remains unclear as the three species show differences in microhabitat use and may also differ in age. Because the elemental fingerprints of juveniles vary among estuaries or groups of estuaries, the nursery or recruitment estuary of adult fish could now be determined by analysing the juvenile region of adult otoliths. Thus, connectivity between estuaries and open coastal populations could be determined. Such information will have major implications for fisheries management because it will provide information on the distance that fish have moved from their recruitment estuary and the number of estuaries that contribute to each adult population.

Item ID: 4429
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1096-0015
Keywords: estuary; otoliths; Sparidae; spatial variation; trace elements
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2009 01:10
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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