Innovative use of sclerochronology in marine resource management

Composite image of 2 statoliths from the same Buccinum undatum specimen. (a) Photomicrograph of an extracted and mounted left-hand statolith imaged using optical microscopy. (b,c) Scanning electron microscope image of the matching right-hand statolith that has been resin-mounted, ground to the central plane, polished and etched: (b) standard secondary electron image, (c) topographical height map. Photo credit: Philip Hollyman

In recent years, technical and analytical developments in sclerochronology based on the reading of otoliths, statoliths, spines, vertebrae and other age-registering accretionary hard tissues have contributed increasingly to our ability to assess the life-histories of a wide range of marine organisms, including fish, cephalopods, shellfish and corals. The knowledge gained from such studies — primarily obtained through isotopic and trace element analyses — has important implications for the assessment and management of populations and habitats: new insights are being gained into the biology of species that are data-limited, while conventions are being challenged in species that are data-rich. Moving beyond single species and other niche analyses, sclerochronology has the potential to provide a much deeper understanding of the interaction between marine life and its environment, including the effects of changing climate. In addition, sclerochronological analysis of existing time-series sample collections is a comparatively affordable way of data mining at a time of worldwide funding constraints in science. The combined analysis of historical and new data allows insights into past marine environmental conditions that can inform future decision-making in fisheries management and environmental sciences.

Editors: Yves Cherel, Stelios Somarakis, Stephen Wing

Organizers: Ewan Hunter, Vladimir Laptikhovsky, Philip Hollyman

Individual Theme Section articles are published 'Advance View' as soon as they are ready. Once the Theme Section is completed, they will be fully published in a regular volume of MEPS and given a volume number and page range. Theme Section literature cites within the articles will also be updated. Occasionally other changes or corrections may have been necessary between the Advance View version and the Final version appearing in the MEPS volume.


Hollyman PR, Leng MJ, Chenery SRN, Laptikhovsky VV, Richardson CA

Statoliths of the whelk Buccinum undatum: a novel age determination tool

MEPS TS SCL av:1 | Full text in pdf format


Perales-Raya C, Nande M, Roura A, Bartolomé A, Gestal C, Otero JJ, García-Fernández P, Almansa E

Comparative study of age estimation in wild and cultured Octopus vulgaris paralarvae: effect of temperature and diet

MEPS TS SCL av:2 | Full text in pdf format


Seeley ME, Walther BD

Facultative oligohaline habitat use in a mobile fish inferred from scale chemistry

MEPS TS SCL av:3 | Full text in pdf format


Barrow J, Ford J, Day R, Morrongiello J

Environmental drivers of growth and predicted effects of climate change on a commercially important fish, Platycephalus laevigatus

MEPS TS SCL av:4 | Full text in pdf format


Laptikhovsky V, Barrett CJ, Hollyman PR

REVIEW: From coral reefs to whale teeth: estimating mortality from natural accumulations of skeletal materials

MEPS TS SCL av:5 | Full text in pdf format


Darnaude AM, Hunter E

Validation of otolith δ18O values as effective natural tags for shelf-scale geolocation of migrating fish

MEPS TS SCL av:6 | Full text in pdf format


Schilling HT, Reis-Santos P, Hughes JM, Smith JA, Everett JD, Stewart J, Gillanders BM, Suthers IM

Evaluating estuarine nursery use and life history patterns of Pomatomus saltatrix in eastern Australia

MEPS TS SCL av:7 | Full text in pdf format