MEPS 350:117-126 (2007)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07109

Discriminating estuarine nurseries for five fish species through otolith elemental fingerprints

Rita P. Vasconcelos1,*, Patrick Reis-Santos1, Susanne Tanner1, Vanessa Fonseca1, Christopher Latkoczy2, Detlef Günther2, Maria José Costa1,3, Henrique Cabral1,3

1Instituto de Oceanografia, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal
2ETH Zurich, D-CHAB, Laboratory of Inorganic Chemistry, Wolfgang-Pauli Strasse 10, 8093 Zurich, Switzerland
3Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Departamento de Biologia Animal. Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal

ABSTRACT: Chemical composition of otoliths may provide valuable information in establishing connectivity between nursery grounds and marine coastal stocks. Juveniles of the commercially important fish species Solea solea, S. senegalensis, Platichthys flesus, Diplodus vulgaris and Dicentrarchus labrax were captured in 8 estuarine nursery grounds along the Portuguese coast in July 2005. Concentrations of Li, Na, Mg, K, Mn, Ni, Cu, Zn, Sr, Cd, Ba and Pb were determined in whole juvenile otoliths using solution-based inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Significant differences in the concentration of several elements were found between estuaries and species using ANOVA and MANOVA. Linear discriminant function analysis classified otolith fingerprints between estuaries for all species with good cross-validated results. Depending on the species, 70.2 to 92.0% of individuals were correctly assigned to their estuary of origin, with discrimination success varying with species, estuaries and number of estuaries in the analysis. Since accurate classification of juvenile fish to their nursery estuary was achieved, fingerprint analysis can be used as a natural habitat tag in assigning adult fish to their estuarine nursery. Ultimately the connectivity between Portuguese estuarine nursery grounds and coastal areas may be estimated, with possible implications for future fisheries and coastal management plans.


KEY WORDS: Otolith microchemistry · Fingerprint · Juvenile fish · Estuary · Nursery · Portugal


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Cite this article as: Vasconcelos RP, Reis-Santos P, Tanner S, Fonseca V and others (2007) Discriminating estuarine nurseries for five fish species through otolith elemental fingerprints. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 350:117-126. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07109

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