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Assessing anadromy of brook char (Salvelinus fontinalis) using scale microchemistry

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Brook char (Salvelinus fontinalis) exist in both freshwater and anadromous forms, often in sympatry, the ecology of the latter being poorly understood. As strontium (Sr) can substitute to calcium (Ca) and as its concentration in seawater is higher than in freshwater, scale circulii laid down during seawater exposure should be enriched in Sr, allowing precise identification of residence patterns in freshwater and seawater. We attempted to document movements of anadromous brook char using wavelength-dispersive X-ray electron microscopy on individual circulii of sagittally sectioned scales. Body scales of brook char experimentally transferred between freshwater and seawater had elevated Sr/Ca ratios in regions laid down during exposure to seawater. Wild anadromous brook char body scales had consistently higher Sr/Ca ratios than river-resident form. However, in both experimental and wild brook char, Sr/Ca ratios in the scale circulii from freshwater periods showed elevated Sr/Ca ratios after seawater exposure, suggesting whole-scale Sr enrichment associated with exposure to seawater. Although whole-scale elemental composition revealed whether a fish has ever resided in a marine environment, analysis of Sr patterns at the level of individual circulii did not allow resolution of fine-scale patterns of these movements in brook char.

L'omble de fontaine (Salvelinus fontinalis) existe sous la forme anadrome et dulcicole, souvent en sympatrie. L'écologie de la forme anadrome étant souvent méconnue. Puisque le strontium (Sr) peut se substituer au calcium (Ca) et que sa concentration dans l'eau de mer est plus élevée qu'en eau douce, les circulii des écailles formés lorsqu'en mer devraient révéler un ratio Sr/Ca plus élevé. Nous avons tenté l'identification ontogénique de la résidence en eau salée d'ombles anadromes à l'aide d'une microsonde électronique à dispersion de longueur d'ondes. Les écailles d'ombles transférés expérimentalement entre de l'eau douce et de l'eau salée ont révélé des ratios Sr/Ca plus élevés dans les régions de l'écaille s'étant formées lors de l'exposition à l'eau salée. Aussi, les écailles d'ombles anadromes sauvages ont révélé des ratios plus élevés que celles des ombles dulcicoles. Toutefois, dans les deux cas, l'ensemble de l'écaille s'est enrichi en Sr lors d'une exposition à l'eau salée. Ainsi, l'analyse microchimique des écailles d'ombles de fontaine peut révéler si un individu a déjà été exposé à l'eau de mer, mais ne permet pas de déterminer les patrons de migration entre l'eau douce et l'eau salée.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-05-01

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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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