Fisheries Science

, 77:809 | Cite as

Stable isotope analysis reveals ontogenetic migration and the importance of a large mangrove estuary as a feeding ground for juvenile John’s snapper Lutjanus johnii

  • Katsuhisa TanakaEmail author
  • Yukio Hanamura
  • Ving Ching Chong
  • Satoshi Watanabe
  • Alias Man
  • Faizul Mohd Kassim
  • Masashi Kodama
  • Tadafumi Ichikawa
Original Article Biology


Stable carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotope ratios were measured to investigate the migration of John’s snapper Lutjanus johnii and its dependence on the food resources provided within the large Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve (40,151 ha), Malaysia. John’s snapper, and its main prey food such as penaeids, Acetes shrimps and mysids, showed generally depleted δ13C values in the inner mangrove area but more enriched values in the river mouth and coastal area. Some juveniles migrated into the inner mangrove areas, although they were also distributed near the river mouth areas. Isotopic signatures of snapper fish and prey reveal the ontogenetic migration of the youngest juvenile fish (<5 cm in total length) from the coastal area into the mangrove area, shifting their dependence from the coastal food web to the inner mangrove food web with their growth. The study shows the importance of the complex interconnected mangrove waterways and associated prey animals present in the large mangrove system to juvenile John’s snapper.


John’s snapper Lutjanus johnii Mangrove estuary Ontogenetic migration Prey animals Stable isotope 



The authors gratefully acknowledge permission by the Department of Fisheries, Government of Malaysia, to carry out the research in the mangrove areas. Appreciation is also expressed to Mr. Mohammed Noordin, director of the Fisheries Research Institute, for providing various facilities for this study. The present study was funded by the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) and in part by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (nos. 22405030 and 20570101).


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society of Fisheries Science 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katsuhisa Tanaka
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yukio Hanamura
    • 2
  • Ving Ching Chong
    • 3
  • Satoshi Watanabe
    • 1
  • Alias Man
    • 4
  • Faizul Mohd Kassim
    • 5
  • Masashi Kodama
    • 2
  • Tadafumi Ichikawa
    • 2
  1. 1.Japan International Research Center for Agricultural SciencesTsukubaJapan
  2. 2.National Research Institute of Fisheries Science, Fisheries Research AgencyYokohamaJapan
  3. 3.Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  4. 4.Fisheries Research InstituteSitiawanMalaysia
  5. 5.Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (Penang Office)PenangMalaysia

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