Temperature and salinity effects on strontium incorporation in otoliths of larval spot (Leiostomus xanthurus) Academic Article uri icon


  • Temperature dependence of strontium/calcium (Sr/Ca) ratios in foraminiferal calcite and coral aragonite is well established; however, factors controlling Sr/Ca ratios in fish otoliths remain obscure. To assess temperature dependence of Sr/Ca in marine fish otoliths, we reared spot (Leiostomus xanthurus) larvae under controlled temperature (17?26?°C) and salinity (15? and 25?). We found a significant linear relationship between temperature and Sr/Ca ratios, with a sensitivity of approximately 5%·°C?1. Otolith Sr/Ca values were also significantly higher at a salinity of 25? vs. 15?, after accounting for differences in dissolved Sr/Ca ratios in the ambient water, with a sensitivity of approximately 1%/salinity (?). These observations complicate the use of Sr/Ca ratios to determine temperature histories of spot larvae, because accurate temperature reconstructions are possible only with a priori knowledge of both ambient salinity and dissolved Sr/Ca ratios. Fully marine species residing in oceanic waters will not experience significant salinity variations; therefore, otolith Sr/Ca ratios may be useful recorders of temperature exposure. Otolith Sr/Ca thermometry in coastal fish species that make regular excursions into estuarine waters will be more problematic. Multiple geochemical tracers, including oxygen stable isotopes and other trace elements, may be necessary to accurately reconstruct temperature and salinity histories in these species.

publication date

  • January 1, 2004