Development of a progeny marker for steelhead Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/44558h313

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  • This study was undertaken to determine if strontium chloride could be used to create a trans-generational otolith mark in steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss). I completed two strontium injection trials and a survey of juvenile steelhead from various steelhead hatcheries. The two trials measured Sr:Ca ratios in otoliths in response to injections and the survey measured the natural variation in Sr:Ca ratios in otoliths of juvenile hatchery steelhead in response to the natural variation. In 2003, adult female Wallowa River, Oregon O. mykiss, were captured at the hatchery and evenly divided between a control group and two treatment groups. These females received an intraperitoneal injection of 1cc/500 g of body weight of a physiologically isotonic solution (0.9% saline) containing concentrations of 0 (control), 1000, or 5000 parts per million (ppm) of strontium chloride hexahydrate (SrCl2* 6H2O). Females were housed in a single outdoor tank until spawned artificially, and a distinct external tag identified each female within each treatment group. In 2004, female steelhead were captured throughout the duration of the adult returns to the Umatilla River basin and injected with 0, 1000, 5000, or 20,000-ppm strontium. In both trials, progeny of fish treated with strontium had significantly higher Sr:Ca ratios in the primordial region of their otoliths as measured using an electron wavelength dispersive microprobe. There was no difference in fertilization rates of eggs and survival rates of fry among treatment groups. Progeny from treated mothers were on average larger than progeny of untreated mothers. The Sr:Ca ratios in otoliths collected from various populations of steelhead were greater than the control values measured in both injections studies. This study suggests that the marking technique works and the utility for such a technique could be used for empirical observations in determining the relative fitness of progeny of adult hatchery origin fish that spawn naturally. The variation in Sr:Ca ratios found among steelhead hatcheries suggests that care must be taken if the technique is employed where fish from more than one hatchery could potentially be involved.
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