Strontium isotopes delineate fine-scale natal origins and migration histories of Pacific salmon

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Science Advances  15 May 2015:
Vol. 1, no. 4, e1400124
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1400124


Highly migratory organisms present major challenges to conservation efforts. This is especially true for exploited anadromous fish species, which exhibit long-range dispersals from natal sites, complex population structures, and extensive mixing of distinct populations during exploitation. By tracing the migratory histories of individual Chinook salmon caught in fisheries using strontium isotopes, we determined the relative production of natal habitats at fine spatial scales and different life histories. Although strontium isotopes have been widely used in provenance research, we present a new robust framework to simultaneously assess natal sources and migrations of individuals within fishery harvests through time. Our results pave the way for investigating how fine-scale habitat production and life histories of salmon respond to perturbations—providing crucial insights for conservation.

  • Pacific salmon
  • strontium isotopes
  • natal origins
  • migration
  • commercial fisheries
  • biodiversity
  • conservation

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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