AB 21:1-10 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00567

Interspecific variation in juvenile snapper otolith chemical signatures in the northern Gulf of Mexico

William F. Patterson III1,*, Beverly K. Barnett2, Michelle Zapp Sluis3, James H. Cowan Jr. 4, Alan M. Shiller

1University of South Alabama and Dauphin Island Sea Lab, 101 Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, Alabama 36528, USA
2National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, Panama City Laboratory, 3500 Delwood Beach Road, Panama City Beach, Florida 32408, USA
3Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi, 6300 Ocean Drive, Corpus Christi, Texas 78412, USA
4Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803, USA
5University of Southern Mississippi, Department of Marine Science, 1020 Balch Blvd., Stennis Space Center, Mississippi 39529, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to evaluate whether age-0 lane snapper Lutjanus synagris otolith chemical signatures could serve as accurate proxies for those of its congener, red snapper L. campechanus, among northern Gulf of Mexico (GOM) nursery regions. Red (n = 90) and lane (n = 53) snappers were sampled from 3 regions of the northern GOM in fall 2005, and their otolith chemistry was analyzed with sector field-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (Ba:Ca, Mg:Ca, Mn:Ca, Sr:Ca, Li:Ca) or stable isotope ratio-mass spectrometry (δ13C and δ18O). Chemical signatures were significantly different among regions (MANOVA, p < 0.001) and between species (MANOVA, p = 0.029), with the species effect being driven by significant differences in 4 of the 7 constituents analyzed (ANOVA, p < 0.036). The significant region effect persisted (MANOVA, p < 0.001), but the species effect was non-significant (MANOVA, p = 0.964) when constituent values were normalized to species-specific means. Mean regional classification accuracies from linear discriminant functions computed with otolith constituent data were 84% for lane snapper and 80% for red snapper whether data were normalized or not. Maximum likelihood models parameterized with normalized lane snapper otolith chemistry data estimated red snapper regional composition reasonably well among mixed-region samples (mean error = 9.7% among models). Therefore, it appears age-0 lane snapper otolith chemical signatures can serve as accurate proxies for those of red snapper in the northern GOM. These results have broader implications for deriving natural tags based on otolith chemistry for fishes that may have low abundance in parts of their range.

KEY WORDS: Otolith chemistry · Snapper · Nursery areas

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Cite this article as: Patterson WF III, Barnett BK, Zapp Sluis M, Cowan JH Jr, Shiller AM (2014) Interspecific variation in juvenile snapper otolith chemical signatures in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Aquat Biol 21:1-10. https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00567

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