MEPS 481:1-10 (2013)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10340

FEATURE ARTICLE
Trace element signatures in larval soft tissues reveal transport, but not population connectivity

Seth H. Miller1,*, Steven G. Morgan1,2, J. Wilson White3, Peter G. Green

1Bodega Marine Laboratory, University of California Davis, Bodega Bay, California 94923, USA
2Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California Davis, Davis, California 95616, USA
3Department of Biology and Marine Biology, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina 28403, USA
4Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California Davis, Davis, California 95616, USA

ABSTRACT: Trace elemental signatures incorporated into calcified structures in fish and mollusk larvae have been used to reveal population connectivity and larval dispersal trajectories. To determine whether trace element analysis could be applied to larvae that do not permanently retain calcified structures, we raised larvae of the porcelain crab Petrolisthes cinctipes from multiple locations along the northern California, USA, coast in a common water source for up to 8 wk. We analyzed 20 elements in extractions of soft tissues from embryos and the 2 larval and 1 postlarval stages. Elemental signatures of individuals in each developmental stage were compared to an atlas of signatures from each collection site using discriminant analysis to determine whether larvae could be accurately assigned to their site of origin in 2 ways. First, postlarvae were classified using a natal site atlas constructed using embryonic signatures from each site, and this classification had poor success (average 39.7% correct). Second, larvae of each stage were classified using a natal site atlas constructed using signatures of larvae from that same stage. This yielded considerably better classification success (81.7% correct overall). Thus, the same trace element signatures were not consistently maintained from embryos to postlarvae, but differences in signatures among natal sites were maintained during the larval period. Trace element signatures in soft tissues could be useful in tracking dispersal between stages and determining how many sites, rather than which sites, contributed to a cohort of larvae or settlers.


KEY WORDS: Dispersal trajectories · Natal origins · Postlarval settlement · Petrolisthes cinctipes


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Cite this article as: Miller SH, Morgan SG, White JW, Green PG (2013) Trace element signatures in larval soft tissues reveal transport, but not population connectivity. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 481:1-10. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10340

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