Continental-scale variation in otolith geochemistry of juvenile American shad (Alosa sapidissima)
Walther, Benjamin D.
Thorrold, Simon R.
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We assembled a comprehensive atlas of geochemical signatures in juvenile American shad (Alosa sapidissima) to discriminate natal river origins on a large spatial scale and at a high spatial resolution. Otoliths and (or) water samples were collected from 20 major spawning rivers from Florida to Quebec and were analyzed for elemental (Mg:Ca, Mn:Ca, Sr:Ca, and Ba:Ca) and isotope (87Sr:86Sr and δ18O) ratios. We examined correlations between water chemistry and otolith composition for five rivers where both were sampled. While Sr:Ca, Ba:Ca, 87Sr:86Sr, and δ18O values in otoliths reflected those ratios in ambient waters, Mg:Ca and Mn:Ca ratios in otoliths varied independently of water chemistry. Geochemical signatures were highly distinct among rivers, with an average classification accuracy of 93% using only those variables where otolith values were accurately predicted from water chemistry data. The study represents the largest assembled database of otolith signatures from the entire native range of a species, encompassing approximately 2700 km of coastline and 19 degrees of latitude and including all major extant spawning populations. This database will allow reliable estimates of natal origins of migrating ocean-phase American shad from the 2004 annual cohort in the future.
Author Posting. © NRC Research Press, 2008. This article is posted here by permission of NRC Research Press for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 65 (2008): 2623-2635, doi:10.1139/F08-164.