Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A Difficult Youth Is A Good Thing For A Fish

Date:
February 1, 2008
Source:
University of California - Santa Barbara
Summary:
A tough early life turns out to be a good thing for a fish, according to scientists. They discovered that fish larvae that survive a long, rough, offshore journey eventually arrive at a near shore reef in good condition, and that they thrive afterwards. The research is useful for the planning of marine protected areas.

Bluehead Wrasse.
Credit: Kenneth Clifton

A tough early life turns out to be a good thing for a fish, according to scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

They discovered that fish larvae that survive a long, rough, offshore journey eventually arrive at a near shore reef in good condition, and that they thrive afterwards.

In contrast, locally produced young have a relatively easy life and they arrive on the reef (near the area where they were spawned) in a variety of conditions –– from poor to good. Only the young that are in good condition survive after a month on the reef.

"This research delves into one of the major questions of how populations are connected through dispersal," said Scott Hamilton, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology (EEMB) at UC Santa Barbara. "We want to know where the young of many marine organisms are coming from and going to, and what factors determine whether they survive."

Hamilton is the first author of the report on the team's findings, published recently in the on-line version of the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science (PNAS). The results point to significant policy implications for the planning of marine protected areas, a topic of worldwide concern.

"It turns out that not all settlers arrive equally prepared for the rigors of the reef, and the probability that a new recruit will grow up to reproduce successfully may depend on where it came from," said Robert Warner, a professor of ecology, evolution, and marine biology.

The scientists used a powerful tool to detect this information: chemical analysis of the ear bone of the fish. The ear bones, also called otoliths, are hard calcium carbonate structures located behind the eyes and below the brain of the fish. The otoliths grow a ring every day from birth, and these rings, like tree rings, hold vast amounts of information about the life of the fish. For example, the spacing of the rings indicates how quickly the fish grew at different periods in its life.

The otolith serves as an internal tag, or tracking device, that reveals the history and location of the fish during its travels. The chemical composition of the ring indicates the type of water in which the fish is located on any particular day.

A fish that is traveling near a populated shoreline collects a higher amount of trace metals, such as lead, in the rings of its otolith. The scientists explain that water near urban areas has higher concentrations of lead due to the run-off from human activities.

Each ocean area has a particular chemical "signature" or "fingerprint" that is incorporated into the ring of the otolith as the fish pass through. Thus scientists are able to map the history of the travels of the fish by chemical analysis of the otolith.

The results surprised the scientists. "This information went against our expectation," said Hamilton. "We expected near shore fish to get back and do well, particularly because they are in nutrient-rich waters, which is a good place to be."

As natural resource managers plan for marine protected areas and marine reserves, they need to know the source of the fish living there.

"We have been measuring ‘connectivity' –– the proportional contribution of different sources to the population in any particular place –– by the numbers arriving," said Warner. Survival may depend on where the fish originated, he explained.

It is generally agreed that a good knowledge of connectivity between marine populations is critical to spatial management of marine resources, including marine reserves.

The authors point out that connectivity measured by the numbers may be very different from "realized connectivity," which is determined in part by differing survival rates of the young recruits.

The fish that the scientists analyzed in this study is the bluehead Wrasse, a fish that is common in the Caribbean Sea. Warner has studied the bluehead Wrasse since the late 1970s.

A third author of the PNAS paper is James Regetz, a programmer and analyst with the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at UCSB.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Santa Barbara. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Santa Barbara. "A Difficult Youth Is A Good Thing For A Fish." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080129125507.htm>.
University of California - Santa Barbara. (2008, February 1). A Difficult Youth Is A Good Thing For A Fish. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080129125507.htm
University of California - Santa Barbara. "A Difficult Youth Is A Good Thing For A Fish." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080129125507.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Adorable Video of Baby Rhino and Lamb Friend Playing

Adorable Video of Baby Rhino and Lamb Friend Playing

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) Gertjie the Rhino and Lammie the Lamb are teaching the world about animal conservation and friendship. TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) has the adorable video! Video provided by Buzz60
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