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Relationship of otolith strontium-to-calcium ratios and salinity: experimental validation for juvenile salmonids

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Analysis of otolith strontium (Sr) or strontium-to-calcium (Sr:Ca) ratios provides a powerful tool to reconstruct the chronology of migration among salinity environments for diadromous salmonids. Although use of this method has been validated by examination of known individuals and translocation experiments, it has never been validated under controlled experimental conditions. In this study, incorporation of otolith Sr was tested across a range of salinities and resulting levels of ambient Sr and Ca concentrations in juvenile chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch), sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka), rainbow trout (Onco rhynchus mykiss), and Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus). Experimental water was mixed, using stream water and seawater as end members, to create experimental salinities of 0.1, 6.3, 12.7, 18.6, 25.5, and 33.0 psu. Otolith Sr and Sr:Ca ratios were significantly related to salinity for all species (r2 range: 0.80–0.91) but provide only enough predictive resolution to discriminate among fresh water, brackish water, and saltwater residency. These results validate the use of otolith Sr:Ca ratios to broadly discriminate salinity histories encountered by salmonids but highlight the need for further research concerning the influence of osmoregulation and physiological changes associated with smolting on otolith microchemistry.

L'analyse des concentrations de strontium (Sr) et des rapports strontium:calcium (Sr:Ca) dans les otolithes est un outil puissant pour la reconstitution de la chronologie de la migration dans des environnements de salinité différente chez les samonidés diadromes. Bien que la méthode ait été validée par l'examen d'individus connus et des expériences de translocation, elle ne l'a jamais été dans des conditions expérimentales contrôlées. La présente étude vérifie l'incorporation du Sr dans les otolithes sur une gamme de salinités et mesure les concentrations ambiantes de Sr et de Ca qui en résultent chez de jeunes saumons quinnat (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), saumons coho (Oncorhynchus kisutch), saumons rouges (Oncorhynchus nerka), truites arc-en-ciel (Oncorhynchus mykiss) et ombles chevaliers (Salvelinus alpinus). L'eau utilisée dans les expérience est un mélange d'eau de ruisseau et d'eau de mer de manière à obtenir des salinités de 0,1, 6,3, 12,7, 18,6, 25,5 et 33,0 ups. Chez toutes les espèces, il y a une relation significative entre la concentration de strontium et le rapport Sr:Ca des otolithes d'une part et la salinité d'autre part (étendue de r2: 0,80–0,91); cependant, la relation n'est suffisamment prédictive que pour permettre de discriminer entre les séjours en eau douce, en eau saumâtre et en eau salée. Ces résultats permettent de valider l'utilisation des rapports Sr:Ca pour distinguer grossièrement les séjours passés des saumons dans des milieux de différentes salinités; ils démontrent cependant l'importance de recherches futures sur l'influence de l'osmorégulation et des changements physiologiques associés à la transformation en saumoneau sur la microchimie des otolithes.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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