Chemical Composition of Fish Hard Parts as a Natural Marker of Fish Stocks

Lisa A. Kerr*, Steven E. Campana

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


The chemical composition of calcified structures in fish (otoliths, spines, rays, scales, and vertebrae) has been identified as a useful natural marker of stock structure. This application depends on geographic variation in water chemistry or other factors (e.g., temperature) that influences the chemistry of the calcified structure such that fish that inhabit different environments exhibit differences in their chemical signature. The use of this technique in stock discrimination requires that a number of assumptions must be met, including that groups of interest possess characteristic and reproducible markers and all possible groups contributing to the group mixture have been characterized. In some instances, structural chemistry can permit observation of subtle population structure that may not be detected by genetic applications alone. Chemical analysis of calcified structures is most effective when used as part of a holistic approach to stock identification.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStock Identification Methods
Subtitle of host publicationApplications in Fishery Science: Second Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages30
ISBN (Print)9780123970039
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013

Other keywords

  • Chemical composition
  • Fin rays
  • Fin spines
  • Otoliths
  • Scales
  • Vertebrae


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