MEPS 353:115-130 (2008)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07172

Egg source, temperature and culture seawater affect elemental signatures in Kelletia kelletii larval statoliths

Diana C. Lloyd1, Danielle C. Zacherl1,*, Sean Walker1, Georges Paradis2, Michael Sheehy2, Robert R. Warner3

1Department of Biological Science, PO Box 6850, California State University Fullerton, Fullerton, California 92834-6850, USA
2Marine Science Institute and 3Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California 93106, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Elemental signatures have been used as a tool to track individual organisms to their natal site in an attempt to understand stock structure and larval dispersal. However, factors that affect elemental signatures are not well understood. We conducted a factorial experiment using whelk Kelletia kelletii larvae from Salta Verde Point on Catalina Island, Los Angeles Harbor, and White Point, Palos Verdes peninsula, California, USA, to test the effects of egg source, temperature (10, 14 and 18°C) and culture seawater on the elemental composition of larval statoliths. Intra-capsular contents of newly laid capsules were also analyzed to explore whether maternal contributions might affect larval statolith chemistry. Using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry we quantified ratios of 7 elements to calcium in both intra-capsular contents and cultured statoliths and provided the first evidence of significant egg-source effects, independent of subsequently experienced environmental conditions, on statolith elemental signatures for Mg:Ca, Ba:Ca and Pb:Ca. Intra-capsular and statolith element ratios showed no clear relationship that might have indicated possible maternal transfer of elements to larvae. Culture seawater elemental concentration was positively related to statolith Ba:Ca and Pb:Ca, and temperature was negatively related to statolith Sr:Ca, Ba:Ca and Pb:Ca, while no significant effects were found for Mn:Ca or Zn:Ca. Effect-size estimates show that elements responded differently to factors within the variation measured in this study; the major effects for Ba and Pb were temperature and egg source, respectively. The significant effect of egg source on elemental signatures has potentially important implications for tracking free-spawned larvae.


KEY WORDS: Statolith · LA ICP-MS · Dispersal · Egg source · Relative effects · Elemental signature · Kelletia kelletii


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Cite this article as: Lloyd DC, Zacherl DC, Walker S, Paradis G, Sheehy M, Warner RR (2008) Egg source, temperature and culture seawater affect elemental signatures in Kelletia kelletii larval statoliths. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 353:115-130. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07172

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