Experimental assessment of the effect of temperature and salinity on elemental composition of otoliths using laser ablation ICPMS Academic Article uri icon


  • Laser ablation – inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICPMS) is a new technique that can be used for the multielemental analysis of otoliths at specific loci. This method was used to sample the otoliths of Atlantic croaker (Micropogonias undulatus), reared under different constant regimes of temperature and salinity, to determine whether the elemental composition of otoliths changes ontogenetically. Each otolith was sampled at a number of loci, beginning at the center and then every 500??m along the longest axis to near the edge; of 23 isotopes measured simultaneously at each locus, 18 were standardized to 48Ca and included in analyses. The elemental composition at otolith centers and near their edges differed significantly amongst treatments, with the effect of temperature a stronger influence. Elemental composition also varied across otoliths from within treatments, indicating endogenous effects. Ontogenetic patterns differed amongst treatments, indicating that endogenous control was mediated by the external environment. Otoliths of fish from one tank where the physical conditions were switched, showed greater variation in the multielemental signal than that resulting only from ontogenetic change. All analyses indicated that otolith formation is the product of numerous interactive exogenous and endogenous processes, including water temperature, salinity, and ontogeny.

publication date

  • July 1, 1995