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MEPS
Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 377:279-288 (2009)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07794

Otolith chemistry of the non-dispersing reef fish Acanthochromis polyacanthus: cross-shelf patterns from the central Great Barrier Reef

Michael J. Kingsford1,*, Julian M. Hughes1,2, Heather M. Patterson1,3

1ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and the School of Marine and Tropical Biology, JCU, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia
2Present address: Fisheries Biology Unit, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Cronulla Fisheries Research Centre, PO Box 21 Cronulla, New South Wales 2230, Australia
3Present address: Fisheries and Marine Sciences Program, Bureau of Rural Sciences, GPO Box 858, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia

ABSTRACT: The influence of cross-shelf gradients, within and among distance strata, on the otolith chemistry of the non-dispersing reef fish Acanthochromis polyacanthus was examined on the Great Barrier Reef. Most of the variation in elemental ratios (Mg/Ca, Cu/Ca, Sr/Ca, Ba/Ca) was at the level of sites within reefs; some broad patterns of otolith chemistry were found cross-shelf. Sr/Ca and Ba/Ca ratios increased with distance from shore. Highest ratios of Mn/Ca and Cu/Ca were found at the outermost shelf sites at Myrmidon Reef, but Mn levels were generally greatest within 45 km of shore. Elevated ratios of Ba/Ca at Myrmidon Reef were persistent over 3 yr and are likely indicative of upwelling, which is known to occur in the area. The Ba/Ca ratios were the highest ever reported in marine fish otoliths, and accuracy of our estimates was confirmed in a paired laboratory test. The robustness of reef-wide chemical signatures in fish was weak, but unique signatures were found within reefs. High resolution elemental records could help to identify sites affected by upwelling and the periodicity of upwelling events.


KEY WORDS: Reef fish · Otolith chemistry · Inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry · ICP-MS · Great Barrier Reef · Cross-shelf gradients · Upwelling


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Cite this article as: Kingsford MJ, Hughes JM, Patterson HM (2009) Otolith chemistry of the non-dispersing reef fish Acanthochromis polyacanthus: cross-shelf patterns from the central Great Barrier Reef. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 377:279-288. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07794

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