Locations of marine animals revealed by carbon isotopes

Type Article
Date 2011-06
Language English
Author(s) Mackenzie KirsteenORCID1, Palmer Martin R.1, Moore Andy2, Ibbotson Anton T.3, Beaumont William R. C.3, Poulter David J. S.4, Trueman Clive N.1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ Southampton Waterfront Campus, Sch Ocean & Earth Sci, Southampton SO14 3ZH, Hants, England.
2 : Ctr Environm Fisheries & Aquaculture Sci, Lowestoft NR33 0HT, Suffolk, England.
3 : Game & Wildlife Conservat Trust, Wareham BH20 6BB, Dorset, England.
4 : Univ Southampton Waterfront Campus, Natl Oceanog Ctr, Southampton SO14 3ZH, Hants, England.
Source Scientific Reports (2045-2322) (Nature Publishing Group), 2011-06 , Vol. 1 , N. 21 , P. 6p.
DOI 10.1038/srep00021
WOS© Times Cited 94

Knowing the distribution of marine animals is central to understanding climatic and other environmental influences on population ecology. This information has proven difficult to gain through capture-based methods biased by capture location. Here we show that marine location can be inferred from animal tissues. As the carbon isotope composition of animal tissues varies with sea surface temperature, marine location can be identified by matching time series of carbon isotopes measured in tissues to sea surface temperature records. Applying this technique to populations of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) produces isotopically-derived maps of oceanic feeding grounds, consistent with the current understanding of salmon migrations, that additionally reveal geographic segregation in feeding grounds between individual philopatric populations and age-classes. Carbon isotope ratios can be used to identify the location of open ocean feeding grounds for any pelagic animals for which tissue archives and matching records of sea surface temperature are available.

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