Combining otolith chemistry and telemetry to assess diadromous migration in pinkeye mullet, Trachystoma petardi (Actinopterygii, Mugiliformes)

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Journal Article
Hydrobiologia, 2018, 808 (1), pp. 265 - 281
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© 2017, Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature. This study examines the complex diadromous movements in pinkeye mullet (Trachystoma petardi) of south-eastern Australia. The techniques used to study these movements included LA-ICP-MS single line ablation transects and microchemical imaging as well as preliminary acoustic telemetry results which were used to aid in interpretation of chemical signatures related to complex movement patterns across salinity gradients. Ba:Ca and Sr:Ca from single ablation transects and microchemical images revealed differences between the otolith core and outer regions. Otolith Ba:Ca and Sr:Ca patterns were more easily distinguished in images compared to transects and these revealed that T. petardi spend their early life in saline waters. Movement patterns for adults varied, with a range of movements identified between fresh and saline waters. Telemetry data assisted in explaining the likely cause of the ambiguity in otolith microchemistry data, including identification of multiple rapid movements across salinity gradients. However, many movements through salinity gradients appear too brief to result in any clear Sr:Ca or Ba:Ca saline or mesohaline signature within the chemistry of the otolith. The combination of otolith chemistry and telemetry proved useful in providing information on this poorly understood species suggesting that T. petardi display a catadromous life history.
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