Retrospective examination of habitat use by blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis) using otolith microchemical methods

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Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science


We used otolith microchemistry and ambient water concentrations of Ca, Ba, Mn, and Sr to identify habitat use in the first year of growth for 131 returning adult blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis) collected in seven spawning runs along the coast of Maine, USA. Ambient Sr:Ca ratios were correlated with salinity and were used as primary indicators of habitat use. Results revealed variable individual migration histories with several discrete migratory patterns; some fish migrated into seawater well before the end of the first year, while the majority exhibited longer residency in freshwater or low salinity habitat.