Migration history of North Sea houting (Coregonus oxyrinchus L.) caught in Lake IJsselmeer (The Netherlands) inferred from scale transects of 88Sr:44Ca ratios
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North Sea houting, Coregonus oxyrinchus, became extinct in the River Rhine in the 1940 s and was reintroduced in the 1990 s. To study the migration history of individuals, the 88Sr:44Ca ratio of scales of 39 houting (10–44 cm TL) caught in Lake IJsselmeer was analysed using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). Scales of houting inhabiting freshwater ponds and two Danish rivers containing the last original populations in the North Sea basin were used as controls. Fish that lived exclusively in freshwater had 88Sr:44Ca ratios of around 0.2 from the nucleus to the edge; 29 of the analysed houting from Lake IJsselmeer were of this type. Most of these were small, but some were mature and up to 42 cm in length. Seven houting had 88Sr:44Ca ratios over 0.27 from the nucleus to the scale maximum values, indicating migration to the sea at early life stages. Three houting with low 88Sr:44Ca ratios at the scale nucleus and increased 88Sr:44Ca ratios towards the scale edge probably lived in freshwater for a longer period after hatching and then moved to brackish/marine environments. The scale analysis indicates different migration patterns for houting in Lake IJsselmeer and provides evidence that this species (1) is sometimes able to pass the migratory barriers between the Wadden Sea and Lake IJsselmeer, and (2) does not need to migrate to sea to reach maturity.
Keywords.Coregonus oxyrinchus diadromous fish nonlethal method scale microchemistry strontium River Rhine
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