Marine Biology

, Volume 153, Issue 3, pp 327–335 | Cite as

Fine-scale chemical fingerprinting of an open coast crustacean for the assessment of population connectivity

  • Henry S. CarsonEmail author
  • Steven G. Morgan
  • Peter G. Green
Research Article


Chemical fingerprinting techniques recently have been used to track larval dispersal of estuarine species that bear calcified structures, but the applicability of this important approach may be limited on the open coast where chemical signatures may be less distinctive and for the many species that do not retain calcified structures throughout development. Externally brooded embryos of the porcelain crab, Petrolisthes cinctipes, and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry were used to determine whether fine-scale variation in trace-elemental composition occurred along an open coast. Embryos were collected from 16 sites from 37.8° to 39.5° north latitude along the Pacific Coast of California, USA during late January and early February 2003. Discriminant function analysis revealed that collection sites, many separated by only a few kilometers along an open coast, could be differentiated with an overall accuracy of 73%, and combining the sites into three regions increased the accuracy to 88%. Thus, distinctive elemental signatures can be detected in open coast species even at a fine scale raising the possibility that larval tags can be developed for many more species than previously thought possible.


Inductively Couple Plasma Mass Spectrometer Assignment Accuracy Calcify Structure Discriminant Function Analysis Southern Site 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Leah Akins for assisting with sample collection. Danielle Zacherl contributed technical advice and the comments of Steve Swearer and two anonymous reviewers greatly improved the manuscript. Tom Young made available the ICP-MS. Jennifer Zarzoso assisted with embryo measurement and staging. Funding was provided by Coastal Environmental Quality Initiative through the University of California, Achievement Rewards for College Scientists, San Diego Chapter and the National Science Foundation (OCE-098196). This is contribution number 2392 of the Bodega Marine Laboratory. The experiments described herein comply with the current laws of the United States of America.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry S. Carson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Steven G. Morgan
    • 2
  • Peter G. Green
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of BiologySan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Bodega Marine Laboratory, Department of Environmental Science and PolicyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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