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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 465:267-280 (2012)  -  DOI:

Plasticity of European flounder life history patterns discloses alternatives to catadromy

Françoise Daverat1,*,**, Pedro Morais2,3,**, Ester Dias3,4, John Babaluk5, Jean Martin1, Mélissa Eon1, Ronan Fablet6, Christophe Pécheyran7, Carlos Antunes3,8,9

1Institut National de Recherche en Sciences et Technologies pour l’Environnement et l’Agriculture (IRSTEA), UR EPBX, 50 av. de Verdun, Cestas Cedex 33612, France
2International Center for Coastal Ecohydrology (ICCE), Solar do Capitão-Mor, Horta das Figuras, EN 125, Faro 8005-518, Portugal
3Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental (CIMAR/CIIMAR), Universidade do Porto, Rua dos Bragas 289, Porto 4050-123, Portugal
4Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas de Abel Salazar, Universidade do Porto, Lg. Prof. Abel Salazar 2, Porto 4099-003, Portugal
5Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 501 University Crescent, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N6, Canada
6Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), FRE 3167 LabSTICC CS 83818, Technopôle Brest-Iroise 29238, France
7Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour, UMR 5254 IPREM-LCABIE, Hélioparc Pau, 64053 Pau Cedex 09, France
8Aquamuseu do Rio Minho, Parque do Castelinho s/n, Vila Nova de Cerveira 4920-290, Portugal
9Escola Superior Gallaecia, Largo das Oliveiras s/n, Vila Nova de Cerveira 4920-275, Portugal
**These authors contributed equally to this paper

ABSTRACT: European flounder Platichthys flesus life history patterns were investigated in 3 basins along a latitudinal gradient (Minho, N Portugal; Gironde, SW France; Seine, N France). We used coupled Sr:Ca and Ba:Ca otolith signatures and microstructure to retrospectively determine habitats occupied by flounder during their life, including early larval ontogeny. Flounder exhibited high life history plasticity among and even within basins, apparent by the diversity of habitats used during larval ontogeny and throughout their lives, and by the age at which flounder migrated to freshwater. Egg signatures probably had a strong maternal influence, and our interpretation suggests that flounder spawned and/or hatched predominantly in brackish waters in the Minho, while in the Gironde and Seine, flounder spawned and/or hatched either in coastal, brackish or freshwater environments. The freshwater egg signature was most frequent in the Seine. These interpretations contradict the current general assumption that flounder spawn exclusively in coastal waters. During pre-metamorphosis and metamorphosis, flounder were predominantly in brackish waters in the Minho, while in the Gironde and Seine, they were mainly in coastal and freshwater environments, respectively. The diversity of flounder life histories (LH) (i.e. sequence of habitat residence: freshwater, brackish or coastal) after metamorphosis was similar between the Minho (LH = 13), Gironde (LH = 13) and Seine (LH = 14) basins. The age at which flounder migrated to freshwater also varied among sites, at an earlier age in the Minho and Gironde (<0.5 yr old) than in the Seine, where flounder migrating from the coast into freshwater reached maximum frequencies at age 1.3 yr old. Thus, catadromy in European flounder may be facultative, and the factors influencing flounder high LH plasticity deserve thorough research.

KEY WORDS: Platichthys flesus · Migration · Otolith microchemistry · LA-ICP-MS · Sr:Ca · Ba:Ca · Phenotypic plasticity · Bayesian labeling · Hidden Markov models

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Cite this article as: Daverat F, Morais P, Dias E, Babaluk J and others (2012) Plasticity of European flounder life history patterns discloses alternatives to catadromy. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 465:267-280.

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