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Title: Reconstructing larval growth and habitat use in an amphidromous goby using otolith increments and microchemistry: integrating otolith methods
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Award ID(s):
1658823 1524336
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Journal of Fish Biology
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
1338 to 1355
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Ocean acidification, the ongoing decline of surface ocean pH and [CO${}_{3}^{2-}$] due to absorption of surplus atmospheric CO 2 , has far-reaching consequences for marine biota, especially calcifiers. Among these are teleost fishes, which internally calcify otoliths, critical elements of the inner ear and vestibular system. There is evidence in the literature that ocean acidification increases otolith size and alters shape, perhaps impacting otic mechanics and thus sensory perception. Here, larval Clark’s anemonefish, Amphiprion clarkii (Bennett, 1830), were reared in various seawater pCO 2 /pH treatments analogous to future ocean scenarios. At the onset of metamorphosis, all otoliths were removedmore »from each individual fish and analyzed for treatment effects on morphometrics including area, perimeter, and circularity; scanning electron microscopy was used to screen for evidence of treatment effects on lateral development, surface roughness, and vaterite replacement. The results corroborate those of other experiments with other taxa that observed otolith growth with elevated pCO 2 , and provide evidence that lateral development and surface roughness increased as well. Both sagittae exhibited increasing area, perimeter, lateral development, and roughness; left lapilli exhibited increasing area and perimeter while right lapilli exhibited increasing lateral development and roughness; and left asterisci exhibited increasing perimeter, roughness, and ellipticity with increasing pCO 2 . Right lapilli and left asterisci were only impacted by the most extreme pCO 2 treatment, suggesting they are resilient to any conditions short of aragonite undersaturation, while all other impacted otoliths responded to lower concentrations. Finally, fish settlement competency at 10 dph was dramatically reduced, and fish standard length marginally reduced with increasing pCO 2 . Increasing abnormality and asymmetry of otoliths may impact inner ear function by altering otolith-maculae interactions.« less
  2. Accurate age data are essential for reliable fish stock assessment. Yet many stocks suffer from inconsistencies in age interpretation. A new approach to obtain age makes use of the chemical composition of otoliths. This study validates the periodicity of recurrent patterns in 25 Mg, 31 P, 34 K, 55 Mn, 63 Cu, 64 Zn, 66 Zn, 85 Rb, 88 Sr, 138 Ba, and 208 Pb in Baltic cod (Gadus morhua) otoliths from tag–recapture and known-age samples. Otolith P concentrations showed the highest consistency in seasonality over the years, with minima co-occurring with otolith winter zones in the known-age otoliths andmore »in late winter – early spring when water temperatures are coldest in tagged cod . The timing of minima differs between stocks, occurring around February in western Baltic cod and 1 month later in eastern Baltic cod; seasonal maxima are also stock-specific, occurring in August and October, respectively. The amplitude in P is larger in faster-growing western compared with eastern Baltic cod. Seasonal patterns with minima in winter – late spring were also evident in Mg and Mn, but less consistent over time and fish size than P. Chronological patterns in P, and to a lesser extent Mg and Mn, may have the potential to supplement traditional age estimation or to guide the visual identification of translucent and opaque otolith patterns used in traditional age estimation.« less
  3. Fish otoliths' chronometric properties make them useful for age and growth rate estimation in fisheries management. For the Eastern Baltic Sea cod stock (Gadus morhua ), unclear seasonal growth zones in otoliths have resulted in unreliable age and growth information. Here, a new age estimation method based on seasonal patterns in trace elemental otolith incorporation was tested for the first time and compared with the traditional method of visually counting growth zones, using otoliths from the Baltic and North seas. Various trace elemental ratios, linked to fish metabolic activity (higher in summer) or external environment (migration to colder, deeper habitatsmore »with higher salinity in winter), were tested for age estimation based on assessing their seasonal variations in concentration. Mg:Ca and P:Ca, both proxies for growth and metabolic activity, showed greatest seasonality and therefore have the best potential to be used as chemical clocks. Otolith image readability was significantly lower in the Baltic than in the North Sea. The chemical (novel) method had an overall greater precision and percentage agreement among readers (11.2%, 74.0%) than the visual (traditional) method (23.1%, 51.0%). Visual readers generally selected more highly contrasting zones as annuli whereas the chemical readers identified brighter regions within the first two annuli and darker zones thereafter. Visual estimates produced significantly higher, more variable ages than did the chemical ones. Based on the analyses in our study, we suggest that otolith microchemistry is a promising alternative ageing method for fish populations difficult to age, such as the Eastern Baltic cod.« less