|Elsdon. T. S., B. K. Wells, S. E. Campana, B. M. Gillanders, C. M. Jones, K. E. Limburg, D. H. Secor, S. R. Thorrold, and B. D. Walther, Otolith chemistry to describe movements and life-history parameters of fishes: Hypotheses, assumptions, limitations, and inferences, Oceanogr. Mar. Biol. Ann. Rev. 46: 297-330, 2008|
In ever increasing numbers, researchers wish to extract information based on chemical analyses from otoliths to determine movements and life-history patterns of fish. Such analyses require a number of assumptions about chemical incorporation and interpretation that are above and beyond those already well documented for stock discrimination. We aim to clarify the methods of determining fish movement based on otolith chemistry. We review current trends in determining movement using otolith chemistry, otolith sampling methods, and what influences otolith chemistry. We then discuss both spatial and temporal variability in water and otolith chemistries, which underpin the assumptions of several methods. We outline five methods for determining movement and migration of fish: (i) mark-recovery estimates of movement and life-history measurements of a single fish group, (ii) identifying natural tags of groups to assess movements among those groups, (iii) transgenerational marks to determine natal origins, (iv) profile analysis to define life-history variation within a population, and (v) profile analysis to describe movements through different environments. Within each of the methods, we provide background information, specific hypotheses being tested, and assumptions and limitations of each technique. Finally, we identify research directions required to fill current knowledge gaps and enhance the usefulness of otolith chemistry to determine fish movement.