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Anadromy in Arctic populations of lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush): otolith microchemistry, stable isotopes, and comparisons with Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus)

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In the family Salmonidae, lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) are considered the least tolerant of salt water. There are, however, sporadic reports of lake trout in coastal, brackish habitats in the Canadian Arctic. Otolith microchemistry analyses conducted on lake trout and Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus) from four Arctic lakes in the West Kitikmeot region of Nunavut, Canada, revealed that 37 of 135 (27%) lake trout made annual marine migrations. Anadromous lake trout were in significantly better condition (K = 1.17) and had significantly higher C:N ratios (3.71) than resident lake trout (K = 1.05 and C:N = 3.34). Anadromous lake trout also had significantly higher 15N (mean = 16.4‰), 13C (mean=–22.3‰), and 34S (mean = 13.43‰) isotope ratios than resident lake trout (means = 12.84‰,–26.21‰, and 1.93‰ for 15N, 13C, and 34S, respectively); results were similar for Arctic char and agree with results from previous studies. Mean age of first migration for lake trout was 13years, which was significantly older than that for Arctic char (5years). This could be a reflection of size-dependent salinity tolerance in lake trout, but further research is required. These are the first detailed scientific data documenting anadromy in lake trout.

Dans la famille des Salmonidae, ce sont les touladis (Salvelinus namaycush) qui sont considérés les moins tolérants à l’eau salée. On signale néanmoins de temps à autre la présence de touladis dans les habitats côtiers et saumâtres de l’Arctique canadien. Des analyses microchimiques des otolithes faites sur des touladis et des ombles chevaliers (Salvelinus alpinus) de quatre lacs arctiques dans la région du Kitikmeot occidental au Nunavut, Canada, montrent que 37 de 135 (27%) touladis avaient fait des migrations annuelles en mer. Les touladis anadromes sont en significativement meilleure condition (K = 1,17) et possèdent un rapport C:N (3,71) relativement plus élevé que les touladis résidants (K = 1,05 et C:N = 3,34). Les touladis anadromes ont aussi des rapports d’isotopes 15N (moyenne = 16,4 ‰), 13C (moyenne=–22,3‰) et 34S (moyenne = 13,43 ‰) plus élevés que ceux des touladis résidants (moyennes de 12,84 ‰,–26,21 ‰ et 1,93‰ pour respectivement 15N, 13C et 34S); les résultats sont semblables chez les ombles chevaliers et concordent avec ceux des études antérieures. L’âge moyen de la première migration chez le touladi est de 13 ans, ce qui est significativement plus tard que chez l’omble chevalier (5 ans). Cela pourrait refléter une tolérance à la salinité reliée à la taille chez le touladi, mais il faut des recherches supplémentaires sur le sujet. Nos résultats représentent les premières données scientifiques détaillées sur l’anadromie chez le touladi.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2010

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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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