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Microstructure of fish otoliths
Campana, S.E.; Neilson, J.D. (1985). Microstructure of fish otoliths. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 42(5): 1014-1032.
In: Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences = Journal canadien des sciences halieutiques et aquatiques. National Research Council Canada: Ottawa. ISSN 0706-652X; e-ISSN 1205-7533, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Campana, S.E.
  • Neilson, J.D.

    Otolith microstructure examination has found an increasing number of applications in recent years. However, few workers have critically assessed the assumptions upon which the age and growth inferences are based or considered the potential for environmental modification of microstructural features. This paper reviews present applications and their assumptions and suggests future directions. Particular attention is given to the premises that the frequency of increment formation is constant and that the width of increments is proportional to fish growth. A hypothesis of increment formation is presented which appears consistent with the numerous and often conflicting studies reported to date. The presence of an endogenous circadian rhythm of increment formation is invoked, entrained by photoperiod, but susceptible to modification by other cyclic environmental variables. Increments formed as a result of the circadian rhythm (once per 24 h) may be induced by different processes than those induced through the action of environmental cues (often > 1 per 24 h), thus explaining apparent morphological differences in increment structure noted by some workers. Temperature fluctuations appear to be a primary source of subdaily increments and are a potential source of error in otolith interpretation.

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