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    Conservation of Arctic fish species is challenging partly due to our limited ability to track fish through time and space, which constrains our understanding of life history diversity and lifelong habitat use. Broad Whitefish (Coregonus nasus) is an important subsistence species for Alaska's Arctic Indigenous communities, yet little is known about life history diversity, migration patterns, and freshwater habitat use. Using laser ablation Sr isotope otolith microchemistry, we analyzed Colville River Broad Whitefish 87Sr/86Sr chronologies (n = 61) to reconstruct movements and habitat use across the lives of individual fish. We found evidence of at least six life history types, including three anadromous types, one semi-anadromous type, and two nonanadromous types. Anadromous life history types comprised a large proportion of individuals sampled (collectively, 59%) and most of these (59%) migrated to sea between ages 0-2 and spent varying durations at sea. The semi-anadromous life history type comprised 28% of samples and entered marine habitat as larvae. Nonanadromous life history types comprised the remainder (collectively, 13%). Otolith 87Sr/86Sr data from juvenile and adult freshwater stages suggest that habitat use changed in association with age, seasons, and life history strategies. This information on Broad Whitefish life histories and habitat use across time and space will help managers and conservation planners better understand the risks of anthropogenic impacts and help conserve this vital subsistence resource.


    Jason C Leppi, Daniel J Rinella, Mark S Wipfli, Randy J Brown, Karen J Spaleta, Matthew S Whitman. Strontium isotopes reveal diverse life history variations, migration patterns, and habitat use for Broad Whitefish (Coregonus nasus) in Arctic, Alaska. PloS one. 2022;17(5):e0259921

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    PMID: 35499986

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