Combining microvolume isotope analysis and numerical simulation to reproduce fish migration history

Tatsuya Sakamoto, Kosei Komatsu, Kotaro Shirai, Tomihiko Higuchi, Toyoho Ishimura, Takashi Setou, Yasuhiro Kamimura, Chikako Watanabe, Atsushi Kawabata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Tracking the movement of migratory fish is of great importance for efficient conservation, although this has been technically difficult to achieve in small fish to which artificial tags cannot be attached. We show that migration history can be reproduced by combining high-resolution otolith stable oxygen isotope ratio (δ18O) analysis and numerical simulation. High-precision micromilling and microvolume carbonate analysing systems had the remarkable capability of extracting the otolith δ18O profiles with 10–30 days resolution. Furthermore, reasonable movements were reproduced by searching the routes consistent with the otolith δ18O profile, using an individual-based model with random swimming behaviour. This method will be a valuable alternative to tagging and electronic loggers for revealing migration routes in early life stages, thereby providing crucial information to understand population structures and the environmental cause of recruitment variabilities, and to validate and improve fish movement models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-69
Number of pages11
JournalMethods in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • IBM
  • behaviour
  • isotope
  • migration
  • otolith
  • population structure
  • sardine
  • small pelagic fish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecological Modelling


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