Method comparisons for determining concentrations of metals in water samples used in studies of fish migratory histories

Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5143
Prepared in cooperation with the National Park Service and the Missouri Department of Conservation
By: , and 

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Abstract

Signatures developed from metal concentrations in water and fish bony structures can be used to demonstrate migration of individual fish between connected water bodies. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the National Park Service and the Missouri Department of Conservation, compared two protocols for collecting and analyzing water samples for concentrations of several metals commonly used to develop metal signatures. In 2015, paired seasonal water samples were collected in two study areas incorporating three National Park Service units; paired water samples were collected using USGS protocols and simpler research protocols. Metal concentrations obtained using USGS and research protocols were compared using t-tests, percent differences, and simple linear regression analyses. Graphical plots of median values and measured ranges were used to compare ratios of strontium to calcium (Sr:Ca) and barium to calcium (Ba:Ca) obtained using the different protocols among individual stations within the two study areas. For stations on the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers, ranges in concentrations of calcium, barium, and strontium (obtained using USGS protocols) were compared between samples collected from 1995 through 2012 and samples collected in this study. Comparisons were used to evaluate the long-term stability of metal concentrations in the environment.

Collectively, results presented in this report demonstrated that research protocols provided metal concentration data that were similar to data obtained using USGS protocols for all compared metals except manganese. Holding times of 6–33 weeks prior to filtration and analyses for samples collected using research protocols may have caused greater changes in manganese concentrations compared to other metals. Strontium, barium, and calcium are the metals most commonly used in studies of fish migration, and concentrations of these metals were similar using different protocols. However, rivers within each study area were more easily distinguished from each other using metal concentration data obtained using USGS protocols compared to data obtained using research protocols. Information presented in this report can be used to develop studies that use identified metal signatures in connected water bodies and bony fish structures to demonstrate fish migration.

Suggested Citation

Ziegeweid, J.R., Zigler, S.J., Maki, R.P., Karns, B.N., and Love, S.A., 2018, Method comparisons for determining concentrations of metals in water samples used in studies of fish migratory histories: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5143, 20 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185143.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Comparisons of U.S. Geological Survey and Research Protocols
  • Development of Metal Signatures
  • Limitations of the Study
  • Summary
  • References Cited
  • Appendix 1. R coding and Data Files Used in Analyses
  • Appendix 2. Comparisons of Individual Data Pairs
  • Appendix 3. Quality Assurance Data

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Method comparisons for determining concentrations of metals in water samples used in studies of fish migratory histories
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2018-5143
DOI 10.3133/sir20185143
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Upper Midwest Water Science Center
Description Report: vii; 20 p.; Appendixes: 3
Country Canada, United States
Other Geospatial Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, Namakan Reservoir, St. Croix National Scenic Riverway
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y