MEPS 348:285-295 (2007)  -  doi:10.3354/meps07022

Misidentification of the migratory history of anguillid eels by Sr/Ca ratios of vaterite otoliths

Wann-Nian Tzeng1,2,*, Chih-Wei Chang3, Chia-Hui Wang4, Jen-Chieh Shiao5, Yoshiyuki Iizuka6, Yi-Jung Yang6, Chen-Feng You7, Linas Lozys8

1Department of Life Science, and 2Institute of Fisheries Science, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan 106, ROC
3National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, Pingtung, Taiwan 944, ROC
4Institute of Biodiversity, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan 701, ROC
5Institute of Oceanography, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan 106, ROC
6Institute of Earth Sciences, Academia Sinica, Nangang, Taipei, Taiwan 115, ROC
7Department of Earth Sciences, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan 115, ROC
8Institute of Ecology, Vilnius University, 08412 Vilnius-21, Lithuania

ABSTRACT: Most fish otoliths are composed of aragonite, but occasionally they form a mosaic with its polymorph, vaterite. We found an unusual mosaic structure of extremely low strontium to calcium (Sr/Ca) ratio in the aragonite otoliths of European eels Anguilla anguilla. The mosaic crystal structure in the eel otolith appeared opaque under reflected light after EDTA etching and was confirmed to be a vaterite crystal by Raman spectroscopy. Analysis by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry indicated that the elements sodium (Na), strontium (Sr) and barium (Ba) were lower in abundance and magnesium (Mg) and manganese (Mn) were higher in the vaterite than in the aragonite. Otoliths with vaterite inclusions were found in 48.1% of the 108 eels examined. If the mosaic vaterite in otoliths is not identified and avoided, the migratory environmental history of fish could be misidentified when otolith elemental signatures are used as biological tracers.


KEY WORDS: European eel · Otolith microchemistry · Carbonate polymorphs · Raman effect · EPMA · Laser ablation ICP-MS


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Cite this article as: Tzeng W, Chang C, Wang C, Shiao J and others (2007) Misidentification of the migratory history of anguillid eels by Sr/Ca ratios of vaterite otoliths. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 348:285-295

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