MEPS 324:229-239 (2006)  -  doi:10.3354/meps324229

Effect of temperature and salinity on otolith element incorporation in juvenile gray snapper Lutjanus griseus

Gretchen Bath Martin1,2,*, Mark J. Wuenschel1,3

1NOAA/NOS/NCCOS Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research, 101 Pivers Island Road, Beaufort, North Carolina 28516, USA
2Present address: NOAA Fisheries Service, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research, 101 Pivers Island Road, Beaufort, North Carolina 28516, USA
3Present address: Rutgers University, Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Marine Field Station, 800 c/o 132 Great Bay Boulevard, Tuckerton, New Jersey 08087-2004, USA

ABSTRACT: Otolith chemistry provides one approach for identifying the relative contribution of juveniles from different nursery habitats to adult populations. The goal of this study was to validate otolith element incorporation by quantifying the relation between otolith and water element concentrations (Sr/Ca, Mg/Ca, Mn/Ca, and Ba/Ca) as a function of differences in water temperature and salinity using juvenile gray snapper Lutjanus griseus, a reef fish that inhabits estuarine and near-shore habitats as juveniles. We investigated the effects of 20 different temperature (18, 23, 28, 33°C) and salinity (5, 15, 25, 35, 45) combinations on otolith element incorporation (partition coefficient D) in L. griseus. Temperature and salinity had significant effects on DSr but no significant effect on DMg or DMn; however, salinity had a significant effect on DBa. The broad range of temperatures and salinities used in the present study encompasses those occupied by juveniles in the wild and therefore provides a realistic test for using otolith chemistry to infer environmental history of individual gray snapper. Element incorporation and the effects of temperature and salinity on element incorporation differ among fish species, limiting development of generalized models aimed at predicting water chemistry from otolith chemistry. Thus, the data presented here underscore the necessity of validation experiments to translate species-specific elemental signatures in otoliths.

KEY WORDS: Otolith chemistry · Salinity · Temperature · Strontium · Barium · Manganese · Magnesium · Lutjanus griseus

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