Fisheries Science

, 77:757 | Cite as

Newcomers in the Baltic Sea: an attempt to trace the origins and whereabouts of thicklip grey mullet Chelon labrosus

  • Matthias Schaber
  • Lasse Marohn
  • Christoph Petereit
  • Jan P. Schroeder
  • Karsten Zumholz
  • Reinhold Hanel
Original Article Biology


In recent years, thicklip grey mullet Chelon labrosus has shown increasing expansion of its native habitats in the north-eastern Atlantic into northerly adjacent areas including the North Sea and the brackish Baltic Sea. Despite the regular annual and seasonal occurrence of C. labrosus in the western Baltic during the warm months, nothing is known of the origin or whereabouts of the mullet during the cold season. As different possible migration scenarios can be considered, we performed otolith microchemistry analyses on specimens from the western Baltic Sea to identify the origin of this nonindigenous species. Comparison with North Sea samples revealed common habitat preferences and underlined the highly euryhaline nature of C. labrosus in different recently occupied habitats. Occasional fluctuations of Sr/Ca ratio along the growth axis suggest periodical migration between waters of different salinities but did not reveal distinct migration pathways.


Migration behavior Nonindigenous species Otolith microchemistry Sr/Ca ratio 



We would like to thank an anonymous fly fisher who donated his catch to us and also the fishermen A. Kadell, H.W. Kruse, and H. Meier for the samples from the Baltic and J. Orth for the North Sea individuals. Thanks also go to C. Clemmesen (IFM-GEOMAR) for providing the authors with weekly hydrographic time series data. E. Prigge and A. Frommel assisted during dissections and otolith preparations. A. Klügel and H. Anders from Bremen University are acknowledged for the optimal logistics and excellent conditions found during use of the LA-ICPMS, and we thank M. Thöner (IFM-GEOMAR) for his kind support during the use of the EMPA. Additional thanks go to two anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions to improve this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society of Fisheries Science 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthias Schaber
    • 1
  • Lasse Marohn
    • 2
  • Christoph Petereit
    • 2
  • Jan P. Schroeder
    • 2
    • 3
  • Karsten Zumholz
    • 4
  • Reinhold Hanel
    • 5
  1. 1.Institute of Sea Fisheries, Johann Heinrich von Thünen-InstitutFederal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and FisheriesHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Leibniz Institute of Marine SciencesIFM-GEOMARKielGermany
  3. 3.Gesellschaft für Marine Aquakultur mbHBüsumGermany
  4. 4.Berufsbildungszentrum am Nord-OstseekanalFischereischuleRendsburgGermany
  5. 5.Institute for Fisheries Ecology, Johann Heinrich von Thünen-InstitutFederal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and FisheriesHamburgGermany

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