Analysis of otolith strontium (Sr) or strontium-to-calcium (Sr:Ca) ratios provides a powerful tool to reconstruct the chronology of migration among salinity environments for diadromous salmonids. Although use of this method has been validated by examination of known individuals and translocation experiments, it has never been validated under controlled experimental conditions. In this study, incorporation of otolith Sr was tested across a range of salinities and resulting levels of ambient Sr and Ca concentrations in juvenile chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch), sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka), rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus rnykiss), and Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus). Experimental water was mixed, using stream water and seawater as end members, to create experimental salinities of 0.1, 6.3, 12.7, 18.6, 25.5, and 33.0 psu. Otolith Sr and Sr:Ca ratios were significantly related to salinity for all species (r2 range: 0.80-0.91) but provide only enough predictive resolution to discriminate among fresh water, brackish water, and saltwater residency. These results validate the use of otolith Sr:Ca ratios to broadly discriminate salinity histories encountered by salmonids but highlight the need for further research concerning the influence of osmoregulation and physiological changes associated with smoking on otolith microchemistry. ?? 2005 NRC Canada.
Additional Publication Details
Relationship of otolith strontium-to-calcium ratios and salinity: Experimental validation for juvenile salmonids
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences