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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 473:133-148 (2013)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10078

Temporal, spatial, and interspecific variation in geochemical signatures within fish otoliths, bivalve larval shells, and crustacean larvae

Henry S. Carson1,*, Paola C. López-Duarte2, Geoffrey S. Cook3,4, F. Joel Fodrie5, Bonnie J. Becker6, Claudio DiBacco7, Lisa A. Levin8

1Marine Science Department, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, Hilo, Hawaii 96720, USA
2Marine Field Station, Institute of Marine & Coastal Sciences, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey,
800 Great Bay Blvd, Tuckerton, New Jersey 08087, USA
3Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Miami, Florida 33149, USA
4Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, Miami, Florida 33149, USA
5Institute of Marine Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Morehead City, North Carolina 28557, USA
6Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington Tacoma, Tacoma, Washington 98402, USA
7Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B2Y 4A2, Canada
8Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation and Integrative Oceanography Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California 92093-0218, USA

ABSTRACT: Geochemical signatures of early life stages are increasingly used to study population connectivity. This approach utilizes spatial variability in chemical signatures to predict natal or nursery origins of post-dispersal individuals by comparison with a chemical reference atlas created from individuals of known origin. To examine the relative importance of spatial, temporal, and species variation in elemental signatures, we synthesized the chemical information of otoliths, larval shells, and whole larvae from studies that employed natural geochemical signatures in San Diego County, USA between 1997 and 2009. We compared 8 elements analyzed from 4 bivalve species, 2 larval or juvenile fishes, and Stage 1 crab zoeae. Across all species, different sets of elements best discriminated among open-coast sites or within or among bays and lagoons. In mytilid mussels, which had the most complete record, all 8 elements were more variable over time than space at the site level, highlighting the need to resample the reference atlas during each study. More coarsely, however, bay and lagoon taxa maintained distinct chemical signatures both from each other and from those on the open coast, despite interannual variability. Spatially identifiable signatures for all species were likely imparted by a combination of pollution in bays and export to adjacent coastlines (copper, lead), a heterogeneous distribution of land-sourced elements (manganese, cobalt, uranium), and incorporation that may vary in response to temperature (barium, manganese, strontium) and salinity (7 elements). These results identify important elements for larval tracking of additional species depending on habitat and life history; however, source population signatures appear species-specific.


KEY WORDS: Geochemical signatures · Trace-elemental fingerprinting · Connectivity · Dispersal · Mytilus californianus · Mytilus galloprovincialis · Musculista senhousia · Ostrea lurida · Paralichthys californicus · Hypsypops rubicundus · Pachygrapsus crassipes


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Cite this article as: Carson HS, López-Duarte PC, Cook GS, Fodrie FJ, Becker BJ, DiBacco C, Levin LA (2013) Temporal, spatial, and interspecific variation in geochemical signatures within fish otoliths, bivalve larval shells, and crustacean larvae. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 473:133-148. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10078

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