Using energy dispersive x-ray fluorescence microchemistry to infer migratory life history of Atlantic sturgeon
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Atlantic sturgeon migrate between ocean and freshwater habitats to spawn, and juveniles spend several years in fresh/brackish water before returning to the ocean. Because strontium/calcium (Sr/Ca) ratios are diagnostic for freshwater and marine environments, we examined the utility of energy-dispersive x-ray fluorescence (EDXRF) to quantify Sr/Ca ratios of Atlantic sturgeon pectoral fin spines. Atlantic sturgeon spines from wild adults and experimental juveniles were analyzed along a linear transect from the primordium to the outermost point. To verify the technique hatchery juvenile Atlantic sturgeon were held in experimental tanks at <0.5, 13–15, or 33–35‰ and sampled after 5 months. Sr/Ca ratios of experimental hatchery fish increased with salinity, and Sr/Ca ratios in wild adults varied predictably along the measurement transect. However, the ratio decreased in the outermost region of the spine in mature fish collected during a return to freshwater for spawning. Therefore EDXRF is a useful tool to track individual movements of Atlantic sturgeons and other diadromous fish.
KeywordsAtlantic sturgeon Sturgeon spine Sr/Ca ratio Diadromy EDXRF
We thank the Virginia Atlantic sturgeon restoration team and the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) Geospatial Research and Engineering Division – Photonics Imaging and Spectroscopy Laboratory located at George Mason University. We thank Brianna Langford for laboratory assistance. This is VCU Rice Center contribution number 20.
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