Use of otolith microchemistry to identify subbasin Natal origin and use by invasive lake trout in Yellowstone lake.
Nonindigenous lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) expansion in Yellowstone Lake has led to a large decline in the native Yellowstone cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii bouvieri) population. We assessed whether otolith microchemistry could be used to identify subbasin natal origins and long-term use by lake trout as a potential tool for optimizing removal efforts. 87Sr:86Sr and Sr:Ca ratios in otolith cores were used to assess natal origins and 87Sr:86Sr ratios in otolith transects were used to assess movement patterns. Water chemistry was similar throughout the lake, ranging from 0.70634 to 0.70642 and 3.94 to 4.38 mmol/mol for 87Sr:86Sr and Sr:Ca ratios, respectively. Lake trout otoliths also showed little variation in 87Sr:86Sr and Sr:Ca ratios of the natal region and 87Sr:86Sr across otolith transects. Thus, we found that microchemical differences among Sr isotope and Sr:Ca elemental ratios in otoliths were insufficient to detect the natal origin or extensive within-lake movement that has been established from telemetry investigations. Detailed analysis of other elements or isotopes in hard-part microchemistry, in combination with other tools for detecting movement, may improve detection of natal origin and life history movement among fishes within freshwater lentic systems.