Copyright 2006 NRC Canada
Published in Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Vol. 63, No. 8 (August 2006) at DOI: 10.1139/F06-076


Otolith microchemistry and isotopic analyses have emerged as effective techniques for providing insights into fish environmental history that are difficult to obtain by other means. Stable hydrogen isotope ratio (2H/1H or D/H, expressed as δD) is a possible environmental marker that has not been employed in fish provenance research, although it has been applied as a natural tracer of terrestrial organism migrations. We illustrate the potential of δD to serve as a new natural marker of fish environmental history by demonstrating that significant linear relationships (r2 ≥ 0.97) exist between fish otolith and muscle δD and δD of waters that fish inhabit. Differences between mean water δD and both muscle and otolith δD were not significantly correlated with fish total length and were not significantly different among species, indicating that water–fish δD relationships are consistent across fish sizes and species. High r2 values for regressions of otolith and muscle δD on water δD for fishes inhabiting locations with diverse thermal regimes suggest that relationships between water and fish δD are not strongly affected by water temperature. Demonstration that fish δD clearly reflects water δD provides a foundation for future research to reconstruct fish movement among locations with distinct δD signatures.



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