Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 77, Issue 3–4, pp 355–366 | Cite as

Application of bomb radiocarbon chronologies to shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) age validation

  • Daniele ArdizzoneEmail author
  • Gregor M. Cailliet
  • Lisa J. Natanson
  • Allen H. Andrews
  • Lisa A. Kerr
  • Thomas A. Brown
Original Paper


Age estimation is an issue for the shortfin mako, Isurus oxyrinchus, because of disagreement on vertebral band-pair deposition periodicity. In the 1950s–1960s, thermonuclear testing released large amounts of radiocarbon into the atmosphere, which diffused into the ocean through gas exchange. This influx created a time-specific marker that can be used in age validation. Annual band-pair deposition in the porbeagle, Lamna nasus, was validated in a previous study and indicated preliminary annual deposition in the shortfin mako, using four samples from one vertebra. In the present study, age estimates from 54 shortfin mako vertebrae collected in 1950–1984 ranged 1–31 years. Ageing error between readers was consistent, with 76% of the estimates ranging within 2 years. Twenty-one Δ14C values from eight shortfin mako vertebrae (collected in the western North Atlantic in 1963–1984) ranged −154.8‰ to 86.8‰. The resulting conformity with the Δ14C timeline for the porbeagle supported annual band-pair deposition in vertebrae of the shortfin mako.


Shark vertebrae Lamnidae Band pairs Growth 


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This work was supported in part by funds from NOAA/NMFS to the National Shark Research Consortium, in part by the National Sea Grant College Program of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under NOAA Grant no. NA06RG0142, project number R/F-190, through the California Sea Grant College Program, and in part by the California State Resources Agency. This work was performed, in part, under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by University of California, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract W-7405-Eng-48. This research was also funded in part by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, Earl H. and Ethel M. Myers Oceanographic and Marine Biological Trust, Packard Foundation, PADI Project AWARE, Lerner-Gray Memorial Fund for Marine Research, CSU Fresno Research Merit Award, CSU Fresno Travel Grant. I would also like to thank Steven Campana and the anonymous reviewers for their comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniele Ardizzone
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gregor M. Cailliet
    • 1
  • Lisa J. Natanson
    • 2
  • Allen H. Andrews
    • 1
  • Lisa A. Kerr
    • 3
  • Thomas A. Brown
    • 4
  1. 1.Moss Landing Marine LaboratoriesCalifornia State UniversityMoss LandingUSA
  2. 2.Narragansett LaboratoryNOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science CenterNarragansettUSA
  3. 3.Chesapeake Biological LaboratoryUniversity of Maryland Center of Environmental ScienceSolomonsUSA
  4. 4.Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryCenter for Accelerator Mass SpectrometryLivermoreUSA

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