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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 420:207-219 (2010)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08867

Natal origin of Pacific bluefin tuna Thunnus orientalis inferred from otolith oxygen isotope composition

Jen-Chieh Shiao1,*, Shi-Wei Wang1, Kotaro Yokawa2, Momoko Ichinokawa2, Yukio Takeuchi2, Yue-Gau Chen3, Chuan-Chou Shen

1Institute of Oceanography, College of Science, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC
2National Research Institute of Far Seas Fisheries, 5-7-1, Orido, Shimize, Shizuoka, Japan
3Department of Geosciences, College of Science, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC

ABSTRACT: Pacific bluefin tuna Thunnus orientalis has 2 spawning grounds with different spawning seasons. One is in the northwest region of the Philippine Sea during May to June and the other is in the Japan Sea from late July to August. The oxygen isotope level in otoliths is affected by water oxygen isotope composition and negatively correlated to the ambient water temperature. We developed a technique using the temporal profiles of otolith δ18O to discriminate the natal origin of Pacific bluefin tuna. For Age-0 tuna caught in the Japan Sea (n = 35), the δ18O values varied from –2.5 to –2.2‰ between the otolith core and a distance of ca. 600 µm from the core, and then the values increased (enriched) to about –0.8 to –1‰ at 700 to 1000 µm. For Age-0 tuna caught in the Pacific Ocean (n = 41), the otolith δ18O values varied between –2.8 and –2.2‰ at 0 to 1000 µm from the otolith core and then increased to ca. –1.5 to –1‰ at around 1200 to 1600 µm from the core. The different profiles of otolith δ18O values between tuna caught in the Pacific Ocean and the Japan Sea evidently reflect different water temperatures along the migratory route from their natal origin. Fish hatched in the Japan Sea experience water temperatures of <15°C in winter, about 4 mo after hatching, while fish hatched in the Philippine Sea experience winter water temperatures of 17 to 18°C about 6 mo after hatching. The temporal difference in experienced water temperatures produces an earlier increase of otolith δ18O values for tuna caught in the Japan Sea than in the Pacific Ocean. The location of the first winter signal recorded as enriched δ18O in the otolith is a valuable proxy for tracking the natal origin of Pacific bluefin tuna.


KEY WORDS: Thunnus orientalis · Pacific bluefin tuna · Otolith isotope


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Cite this article as: Shiao JC, Wang SW, Yokawa K, Ichinokawa M, Takeuchi Y, Chen YG, Shen CC (2010) Natal origin of Pacific bluefin tuna Thunnus orientalis inferred from otolith oxygen isotope composition. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 420:207-219. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08867

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