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Title: Ba/Ca ratios in teeth reveal habitat use patterns of dolphins
Authors: Botta, Silvina
Albuquerque, C. Q.
Hohn, Aleta A.
Silva, Vera Maria Ferreira da
Santos, Marcos César de Oliveira
Meirelles, C.
Barbosa, Lupércio de Araújo
Madeira Di Beneditto, Ana Paula
Ramos, Renata Maria Arruda
Bertozzi, Carolina Pacheco
Cremer, Marta Jussara
Franco-Trecu, Valentina
Miekeley, Norbert F.
Secchi, E. R.
Keywords: Ablation
Habitat Use
Inia Geoffrensis
Pontoporia Blainvillei
Sotalia Fluviatilis
Issue Date: 2015
metadata.dc.publisher.journal: Marine Ecology Progress Series
metadata.dc.relation.ispartof: Volume 521, Pags. 249-263
Abstract: Teeth and otoliths are metabolically inert structures that preserve a chronology of chemical variations that may be related to the environmental histories experienced by each organism. Because of the natural decrease of barium (Ba) and increase of strontium (Sr) bioavailability in water with increasing salinity, these elements may be especially useful to track habitat use in aquatic organisms. Therefore, we tested whether the Ba/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios in the teeth of dolphins represent a salinity gradient. The main aim was to determine whether these elements can be used as a natural tag for different aquatic environments. Teeth from 2 freshwater dolphins (Inia geoffrensis and Sotalia fluviatilis) and 2 marine species (S. guianensis and Pontoporia blainvillei) from Brazil and Uruguay were analyzed using a Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometer. Intensity ratios of 138Ba/43Ca and 86Sr/43Ca were measured along a line that covered all growth increments in the dentin from the second year of life onwards. Teeth from the freshwater species had mean Ba/Ca values tenfold higher than marine dolphins, confirming the inverse relationship between salinity (and thus ambient Ba/Ca) and elemental ratios in teeth. Furthermore, Ba/Ca ratios could also differentiate dolphins from lower-salinity estuarine areas from those in areas with minimal freshwater discharge. No significant differences were found for Sr/Ca values. Results presented encouraging indications for the application of this technique as a potential new tool for studying habitat use in aquatic mammals.
metadata.dc.identifier.doi: 10.3354/meps11158
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