Identification of habitats responsible for the successful production and recruitment of rare migratory species is a challenge in conservation biology. Here, a tool was developed to assess life stage linkages for the threatened potamodromous cyprinid Clear Lake hitch Lavinia exilicauda chi. Clear Lake hitch undertake migrations from Clear Lake (Lake County, CA, USA) into ephemeral tributary streams for spawning. An aqueous isoscape of strontium isotopic ratios (87Sr/86Sr) was constructed for Clear Lake and its watershed to trace natal origins and migration histories of adult recruits. Aqueous 87Sr/86Sr differentiated Clear Lake from 8 of 10 key tributaries and clustered into 5 strontium isotope groups (SIGs) with 100% classification success. Otolith 87Sr/86Sr showed all five groups contributed variably to the population. The age at which juveniles migrated from natal streams to Clear Lake ranged from 11 to 152 days (mean ± s.d., 43 ± 34 days) and was positively associated with the permanency of natal habitat. This information can be used by resource managers to develop conservation actions for Clear Lake hitch. This study demonstrates the utility of strontium isotopes in otoliths as a tool to identify important freshwater habitats occupied over the lifespan of an individual that would otherwise be challenging or impossible to trace with other methods.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Strontium isotopes reveal ephemeral streams used for spawning and rearing by an imperiled potamodromous cyprinid--Clear Lake hitch Lavinia exilicauda chi|
|Series title||Marine and Freshwater Research|
|Contributing office(s)||California Water Science Center|
|Other Geospatial||Clear Lake|