Lake Sturgeon Age Validation using Bomb Radiocarbon and Known-Age Fish

TitleLake Sturgeon Age Validation using Bomb Radiocarbon and Known-Age Fish
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsBruch, RM, Campana, SE, Davis-Foust, SL, Hansen, MJ, Janssen, J
JournalTransactions of the American Fisheries Society
Volume138
Issue2
Pagination361-372
ISSN0002-8487
Abstract

Pectoral fin spines have been the accepted structure for estimating the age of various sturgeon species for nearly 100 years, though other structures have also been used (otoliths, pectoral girdle, scutes, and caudal fulcra). Accuracy of age estimates using any of these structures has not been validated, so we report the first use of bomb radiocarbon (C-14) assays to assess the validity of ages estimated using growth increments on pectoral fin spine and otolith frontal cross sections from lake sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens: we also assessed age estimates from pectoral fin spines of known-age lake sturgeon. Growth increments on pectoral fin spine cross sections underestimated true age of fish older than 14 years and error increased with age, whereas otoliths accurately estimated true age up to at least 52 years. Increment formation on pectoral fin spine and otolith cross sections from juvenile lake sturgeon (ages 2-11) was similar, although pectoral spines were clearer and easier to interpret. A power function (true age = [estimated age](1.054796), where estimated age was determined from pectoral spines; r(2) = 0.98) provides a means for correcting existing age estimates obtained from lake sturgeon pectoral fin spines.

DOI10.1577/T08-098.1