Spatio-temporal variation in the elemental compositions of otoliths of southern bluefin tuna Thunnus maccoyii in the Indian Ocean and its ecological implication

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Abstract:

The elements Na, Mg, Mn, Ca, Sr and Ba in otoliths of southern bluefin tuna Thunnus maccoyii, collected from their feeding ground in the central Indian Ocean and spawning ground between southern Java and north-western Australia were measured by laser-ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICPMS) and compared among sampling locations and developmental stages. The Na, Mg and Mn to Ca concentration ratios were significantly higher at the larval stage than at the adult stage, and the ratio reached a peak at the first inflection point of the otolith, mean ±s.d.43·3 ± 4·9 days after hatching and decreased sharply to a low level thereafter. The temporal change of the elements:Ca ratios in the first inflection point corresponded to the life stage transition from larva to juvenile, indicating that the uptake rate of elements from ambient waters was significantly influenced by the ontogenetic change in the fish. The elemental composition at the otolith edge differed significantly in sub-adults on the feeding grounds and adults on the spawning grounds. Thus, the otolith elemental composition can be used as a biological tracer to study the time of the ontogenetic shift and to reconstruct the past migratory environmental history of T. maccoyii. In addition, the elemental composition of the otolith core of the adult was similar between feeding and spawning grounds, indicating that the fish in the Indian Ocean had the same larval origin, which is consistent with the single spawning population hypothesis.

Keywords: migratory environmental history; ontogenetic change; otolith elemental composition

Document Type: Regular Paper

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2009.02336.x

Affiliations: 1: Earth Dynamic System Research Center, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan, ROC 2: Institute of Fisheries Science, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC 3: Institute of Oceanography, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC

Publication date: October 1, 2009

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