Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Salmon Life Stories Recorded In Strontium

Date:
August 9, 2001
Source:
University Of Michigan
Summary:
In work that has implications for sport fisherman, scientists and natural resource agencies, University of Michigan researchers have developed a method that lets them reconstruct the environmental history of individual salmon and identify the juvenile habitat of an adult fish returning from the ocean to spawn.

MADISON, Wis. --- In work that has implications for sport fisherman, scientists and natural resource agencies, University of Michigan researchers have developed a method that lets them reconstruct the environmental history of individual salmon and identify the juvenile habitat of an adult fish returning from the ocean to spawn.

Related Articles


In research to be presented at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America on Aug. 7, U-M researchers Brian Kennedy, Andrea Klaue, and Joel Blum, along with Dartmouth College researcher Carol Folt, have found that the element strontium, relatively common in bedrock beneath streams, accumulates in the bony tissues of Atlantic salmon and leaves a specific chemical signature, depending on the geology of the watershed in which the fish is living. This discovery could reveal whether certain rivers or tributaries produce fish that are more likely to survive their time in the ocean and successfully make the return trip to spawn in the stream where they hatched.

Conventional methods of tracing fish movements involve tagging thousands of juvenile fish in hatcheries with fin clips, dyes, or PIT (passive integrated transponder) tags and then hoping that the tagged fish are among the fraction that get re-caught as returning adults years later. It is a labor-intensive procedure that does not yield as much information as scientists would like. Young fish do not necessarily stay in the streams into which they are released, so the tag on a recaptured adult fish may only indicate where the fish was released as a juvenile, not where it spent most of its life. By taking advantage of the natural variation in strontium isotopes (alternate forms of the element that are present in different watersheds), scientists now can differentiate fish from specific geologic areas without having to use a man-made marker previously attached to a fish.

"It's a natural tag," says Kennedy, a research fellow in the Department of Geological Sciences. "In addition to linking adult fish to their juvenile stream, now we can look at juvenile movements between streams, so it gives us a really good indication of where they are spending their juvenile phase."

At a given area in a watershed, strontium isotope ratios are very stable and show little seasonal or temporal variation. Kennedy and his colleagues identified 11 different geologic signatures for 18 regions of the Connecticut River and its tributaries in central and southern Vermont, an area that has been the focus of Atlantic salmon restoration efforts for more than 30 years. Then they looked at the strontium isotope ratios in backbone tissue of juvenile salmon and in otoliths—bits of bony material near the brain known as "ear stones"—of adult salmon. Additional tests with independently tagged fish provided a control to measure the natural variability of isotope ratios for neighbor fish.

The otoliths become a record of the fish's environment. "The neat thing about it," says Kennedy, "is the chemical information is laid down in the otoliths on a daily basis, and they can be 'read' much like tree rings, but on an even finer scale."

Atlantic salmon generally spend two years inland in streams and rivers as juveniles, and then head out to the ocean for a few years before returning to their home stream to spawn. Knowing which streams produce salmon that successfully make this round trip will enable specific habitats to be targeted for protection and could provide valuable information about where to release hatchery fish or how regional habitat restoration efforts are influencing adult survival.

"We're letting nature apply the tag and then reading it, without incurring the potentially high financial costs or mortality rates of artificial tags," says Kennedy. "It could be very useful for distinguishing fish populations in both wild and managed settings."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Michigan. "Salmon Life Stories Recorded In Strontium." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 August 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010809070603.htm>.
University Of Michigan. (2001, August 9). Salmon Life Stories Recorded In Strontium. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010809070603.htm
University Of Michigan. "Salmon Life Stories Recorded In Strontium." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010809070603.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) Take a stab at this -- stunt video shows a lamb chop's journey from an east London restaurant over 30 kilometers into space. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins