Whitemouth croaker, Micropogonias furnieri, trapped in a freshwater coastal lagoon: a natural comparison of freshwater and marine influences on otolith chemistry

Published in Neotropical Ichthyology, v.(2)

Albuquerque, C.Q., Mickley, N. and Muelbert, J.H.

Publication year 2010
DOI https://doi.org/10.1590/S1679-62252010000200009
  • Institute of Oceanography, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande. Av. Itália, Km 8, Caixa Postal 474, 96201-900 Rio Grande, RS, Brazil.
  • Department of Chemistry, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro. Rua Marquês de São Vicente, 225, Gávea, 22453-900 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.


IAI Program


IAI Project CRN3070


Strontium and barium incorporation into otoliths was compared between whitemouth croaker, Micropogonias furnieri, collected from an entrapped freshwater population (Mirim Lagoon) and a normal marine/estuarine population in southern Brazil. Chemical analysis was performed using LA-ICPMS with the objective of validating the effects of marine and freshwater environments on Sr and Ba incorporation as a basis for further investigation of marine and freshwater connectivity of M. furnieri. The freshwater population was dominated by older fish with mean ±SD age of 34±1 y, whereas the coastal samples were dominated by younger fish of 14±7 y. Comparison of strontium and barium incorporation among otolith life-history profiles indicated significantly higher barium and lower strontium for the freshwater population compared to the marine population. Furthermore, comparison of otolith material deposited in the freshwater, estuarine and marine life-history phases demonstrated clear differences among these environments. Mean concentrations of strontium and barium in otoliths of M. furnieri were respectively 710 and 112 µg g-1 for freshwater, 2069 and 16.7 µg g-1 for estuarine, and 2990 and 2.7 µg g-1 for marine life-history phases. Barium concentrations in otoliths from the freshwater population of M. furnieri appeared high relative to other freshwater species. Strontium levels across life-history profiles of marine fish increased with age from 2000 to 2900 µg g-1, possibly indicating more time spent in marine than estuarine waters with age. In contrast, for the freshwater population, strontium levels decreased during the first year of life approximately to 700 µg g-1, and remained low and stable thereafter, consistent with the early life-history occurring in an estuarine environment prior to entrapment in Mirim Lagoon. The results confirm the strong and opposite effects of marine and freshwater environments on incorporation of barium and strontium into otoliths, and indicate that the population of M. furnieri in Mirim Lagoon represents an isolated population that does not reproduce and is therefore likely to become extinct.