Little is known about the stock structure of lake herring Coregonus artedi in Lake Superior, and recent increases in harvestable stock sizes has led to expanded exploitation in some areas. Research on marine teleosts has demonstrated that chemical differences in sagittal otoliths can be used for identification of fish stocks. We used plasma emission spectrophotometry to measure the concentrations of 10 trace elements in the sagittal otoliths from lake herring captured at eight spawning sites in Lake Superior and from Little Star Lake, an inland lake outside the Lake Superior basin. Discriminant function analysis indicated that elemental concentrations provided site-specific information but that considerable overlap existed among some locations, especially those in western Lake Superior. Correct classification rates varied from 12.0% to 86.1% and were generally higher for spawning locations from embayments in eastern Lake Superior and for the outgroup population from Little Star Lake. The results presented here demonstrate the potential usefulness of this technique for strictly freshwater species, especially those that live in highly oligotrophic waters such as Lake Superior.
Additional publication details
Discrimination among spawning concentrations of Lake Superior lake herring based on trace element profiles in sagittae