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Retrospective approach to investigating the early life history of a diadromous fish: allis shad Alosa alosa (L.) in the Gironde–Garonne–Dordogne watershed

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Abstract:

In this study, the identification of major ontogenetic events and the duration of the fresh water and estuarine phases before the seaward exit of young allis shad Alosa alosa were investigated retrospectively, using the otoliths of spawners. Daily growth increment periodicity in the otoliths was validated with an accuracy of 4 days (9·4%) for fish >30 days. The specific limits of the Sr:Ca ratios in the otoliths, indicating fish movements between salinity ‘compartments’, were up to 1·1 ×10−3 for the freshwater phase, 1·1 to 1·9 × 10−3 for the estuarine phase and 1·9 × 10−3 for the marine phase. In early life history, a major event occured at 22 days, which was marked on the otoliths by a change in the direction of the otolith growth axis. This event was related to a change in larval swimming behaviour. Juvenile freshwater residence time was between 58 and 123 days, with a median duration of 88 days. Contrary to what has been estimated in previous studies, the present study showed that the estuarine phase lasted from 4 to 36 days, with a median value of 11 days. Seaward exit occurred in fish aged from 63 to 150 days, with a median age of 99 days. These results have important implications for the sustainable management of this species.

Keywords: Alosa alosa; Sr:Ca ratio; early life history; migration; otolith; retrospective approach

Document Type: Regular Paper

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2007.01776.x

Affiliations: 1: CEMAGREF, Unité Ecosystèmes estuariens et Poissons migrateurs amphihalins, 50 Avenue de Verdun, Gazinet, 33612 Cestas cedex, France 2: Departamento de Recursos Naturales, CSIC/UIB-Institut Mediterrani d’Estudis Avançats, Miguel Marqués 21, 07190 Esporles, Illes Balears, Spain

Publication date: 2008-03-01

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