Application of Bomb Radiocarbon Chronologies to Shortfin Mako (Isurus oxyrinchus)

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There is an ongoing disagreement regarding the aging of the shortfin mako due to a difference of interpretation in the periodic deposition of vertebral growth band pairs, especially for the larger size classes. Using analysis of length-month information, tagging data, and length-frequency analysis, concluded that two band pairs were formed in the vertebral centrum every year (biannual band-pair interpretation). Cailliet et al. (1983), however, presented growth parameters based on the common assumption that one band pair forms annually (annual band-pair interpretation). Therefore, growth rates obtained by Pratt & Casey (1983) were twice that of Cailliet et al. (1983) and could ... continued below

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Ardizzone, D; Cailliet, G M; Natanson, L J; Andrews, A H; Kerr, L A & Brown, T A July 16, 2007.

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There is an ongoing disagreement regarding the aging of the shortfin mako due to a difference of interpretation in the periodic deposition of vertebral growth band pairs, especially for the larger size classes. Using analysis of length-month information, tagging data, and length-frequency analysis, concluded that two band pairs were formed in the vertebral centrum every year (biannual band-pair interpretation). Cailliet et al. (1983), however, presented growth parameters based on the common assumption that one band pair forms annually (annual band-pair interpretation). Therefore, growth rates obtained by Pratt & Casey (1983) were twice that of Cailliet et al. (1983) and could lead to age discrepancies of about 15 years for maximum estimated ages on the order of 30 from the annual band-pair interpretation. Serious consequences in the population dynamics could occur for this species if inputs are based on an invalid age interpretation. The latest Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Highly Migratory Species (HMS), for example, adopted the biannual band pair deposition hypothesis because it apparently fit the observed growth patterns best (Pacific Fishery Management Council 2003). However, the ongoing uncertainty about the aging of the shortfin mako was acknowledged and it was recommended that an endeavor to resolve this issue be made. Since 1983, five additional studies on the age and growth of the shortfin mako have been conducted (Chan 2001, Campana et al. 2002, Hsu 2003, Ribot-Carballal et al. 2005, Bishop et al. 2006). Using Marginal Increment Ratio (MIR), Hsu (2003) indicated the formation of annual translucent bands from July to September in western North Pacific Ocean shortfin makos. Using Marginal Increment Analysis (MIA) Ribot-Carballal et al. (2005) supported the annual band-pair interpretation for 109 shortfin makos collected in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Although the study provided support for annual band-pair deposition, no statistical test was performed and the number of samples for MIA analysis was insufficient for some months. Hence, unequivocal validation of shortfin mako age estimates has yet to be accomplished. Atmospheric testing of thermonuclear devices in the 1950s and 1960s effectively doubled the natural atmospheric radiocarbon ({sup 14}C). The elevated {sup 14}C levels were first recorded in 1957-58, with a peak around 1963. As a consequence, {sup 14}C entered the ocean through gas exchange with the atmosphere at the ocean surface and in terrestrial runoff. Despite variable oceanographic conditions, a worldwide rise of the bomb {sup 14}C signal entered the ocean mixed layer as dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) in 1957-58. The large amounts of {sup 14}C released from the bomb tests produced a signature that can be followed through time, throughout the marine food web, and into deeper waters. The marked increase of radiocarbon levels was first measured in the DIC of seawater and in biogenic marine carbonates of hermatypic corals in Florida. Subsequently, this record was documented in corals from other regions and in the thallus of rhodoliths. The accumulation of radiocarbon in the hard parts of most marine organisms in the mixed layer (such as fish otoliths and bivalves) was synchronous with the coral time-series. This technique has been used to validate age estimates and longevity of numerous bony fishes to date, as well as to establish bomb radiocarbon chronologies from different oceans. In the first application of this technique to lamnoid sharks, validated annual band-pair deposition in vertebral growth bands for the porbeagle (Lamna nasus) aged up to 26 years. Radiocarbon values from samples obtained from 15 porbeagle caught in the western North Atlantic Ocean (some of which were known-age) produced a chronology similar in magnitude to the reference carbonate chronology for that region. The observed phase shift of about 3 years was attributed to different sources of carbon between vertebrae and those for otoliths, bivalves and corals. In the same study by Campana et al. (2002), a single vertebra from a shortfin mako caught in 1977 was aged at 21 and 10 years, using the annual versus the biannual deposition hypotheses, respectively. Vertebral samples were extracted from the first, last, and two intermediate bands and were assayed for radiocarbon. The results indicated the aging interpretation for the vertebra from this fish best fit the timing of the porbeagle time-series by adopting the annual band-pair interpretation. To provide a more comprehensive basis for valid aging criteria and a definitive growth function for the shortfin mako, more radiocarbon assays were required. The goal of our research was to take heed of this suggestion and continue the use of bomb radiocarbon to validate the aging of the shortfin mako, and specifically to resolve the validity of either annual or biannual band-pair age interpretations.

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PDF-file: 31 pages; size: 1.3 Mbytes

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  • Journal Name: Environmental Biology of Fishes, vol. 77, no. 3, August 8, 2006, pp. 355-366; Journal Volume: 77; Journal Issue: 3

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  • Report No.: UCRL-JRNL-233126
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 940880
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc900242

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  • July 16, 2007

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  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Nov. 22, 2016, 7:29 p.m.

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Ardizzone, D; Cailliet, G M; Natanson, L J; Andrews, A H; Kerr, L A & Brown, T A. Application of Bomb Radiocarbon Chronologies to Shortfin Mako (Isurus oxyrinchus), article, July 16, 2007; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc900242/: accessed October 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.