Title

Role of mangroves as nurseries for French grunt Haemulon flavolineatum and schoolmaster Lutjanus apodus assessed by otolith elemental fingerprints

Publication Date

2010

Journal or Book Title

MARINE ECOLOGY-PROGRESS SERIES

Abstract

Juvenile French grunt Haemulon flavolineatum and schoolmaster Lutjanus apodus were captured in mangrove and seagrass stations in St. Croix, and Puerto Rico in 2006 and 2007 to determine whether areas for juvenile fish can be discriminated by means of otolith chemistry. Concentrations of 16 elements were determined in 0-group fish otoliths using laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Two stable isotopes, δ18O and δ13C, in French grunt and schoolmaster otoliths were also analyzed. Multi-elemental signatures for both species differed significantly (p < 0.001) among mangrove and seagrass stations within both islands. Furthermore, concentrations of 6 elements (Sr, Ba, Cu, Mg, Co, Na) as well as δ18O and δ13C for both species within each year differed significantly among mangrove and seagrass stations within islands (p < 0.001). Classification success for French grunt and schoolmaster juvenile areas within St. Croix across years ranged from 87 to 92% and from 76 to 77%, respectively, whereas in Puerto Rico, classification success for French grunt and schoolmaster for the 2 years ranged from 80 to 84% and 84 to 87%, respectively. Classification success between mangrove and seagrass habitats (stations combined) in Puerto Rico for French grunt ranged from 84 to 91%, and for schoolmaster ranged from 94 to 99%. In St. Croix, classification success for French grunt was 95 to 96%, and for schoolmaster was 86 to 89%. The percentages of French grunt subadults collected from forereef stations in St. Croix, identified as having resided as juveniles in mangrove habitats in 2006 and 2007, were 40 and 68%, respectively, while for Puerto Rico, these percentages were 70 and 74%. By contrast, for schoolmaster almost 100% of all fish in both islands resided as juveniles in mangrove habitats in both years. This study contains the first direct evidence of postsettlement fish movement connecting mangrove habitats to the reef using otolith chemistry.

DOI

10.3354/meps08445

Volume

402

Pages

197-212

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