Identifying migratory contingents of fish by combining otolith Sr:Ca with temporal collections of ambient Sr:Ca concentrations
Ambient strontium:calcium (Sr:Ca) concentrations were determined at the temporal scales of months, weeks and days, in summer and winter at two estuarine sites, and experimentally derived correlations between ambient and otolith Sr:Ca were used to estimate the otolith Sr:Ca concentrations of ‘resident’ black bream Acanthopagrus butcheri. Wild black bream were collected in summer and winter at the end of the temporal water sampling, and their otolith Sr:Ca concentrations were examined. Wild fish were classified as ‘resident’ if their otolith Sr:Ca matched the predicted concentrations of resident fish, and ‘migrant’ if this did not occur. In winter, all fish were classified as resident. In summer, all fish were classified as migrants, with fish spending an average of only 16·8% (estuary 1) and 61·1% (estuary 2) of their time at each estuarine location.
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