Analysis of otolith 87Sr/86Sr to elucidate salinity histories of Nurseryfish Kurtus gulliveri (Perciformes:Kurtidae) in a tropical lowland river in northern Australia

David A. Crook, Dion Wedd, Tim M. Berra

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    Abstract

    The Nurseryfish Kurtus gulliveri is found in estuarine and freshwater reaches of tropical rivers in northern Australia and southern New Guinea. Nurseryfish have been recorded in salinities ranging from freshwater to seawater (salinity <0.5-36%), but almost nothing is known of their movements. We conducted coreto- edge transect analyses of 87Sr/86Sr in the otoliths of 16 male and 14 female Nurseryfish collected from a tropical river in northern Australia to examine their movements across a freshwater-estuarine salinity gradient. Comparisons between water and otolith 87Sr/86Sr showed that most fish had 87Sr/86Sr values indicative of periods of saline (salinity > 4%) residence during their early life history, usually followed by a distinct transition into brackish (0.5-4%) or fresh water (<0.5%) later in life. No differences were discernible between the salinity histories of male and female Nurseryfish. Analysis of the relationship between the otolith core-to-edge distance and fish mass indicated that most growth occurred in brackish water. We conclude that Nurseryfish are euryhaline rather than diadromous and that analysis of water and otolith 87Sr/86Sr Sr is an effective method for assessing the movements of tropical riverine fishes and the potential importance of fish migration in driving foodweb subsidies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)609-619
    Number of pages11
    JournalFreshwater Science
    Volume34
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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