The larvae of the Florida stone crab, Menippe mercenaria, migrate through a variety of habitats as they develop and, therefore, experience a broad range of environmental conditions through ontogeny. Environmental variability experienced by the larvae may result in distinct elemental signatures within the exoskeletons, which could provide a tool for tracking the environmental history of larval stone crab populations. A method was developed to examine trace-element ratios, specifically magnesium-to-calcium (Mg/Ca) and strontium-to-calcium (Sr/Ca) ratios, in the exoskeletons of M. mercenaria larvae. Two developmental stages of stone crab larvae were analyzed—stage III and stage V. Specimens were reared in a laboratory environment under stable conditions to quantify the average ratios of Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca of larval stone crab exoskeletons and to determine if the ratios differed through ontogeny. The elemental compositions (Ca, Mg, and Sr) in samples of stage III larvae (n = 50 per sample) from 11 different broods (mean Sr/Ca = 5.916 ± 0.161 millimole per mole [mmol mol−1]; mean Mg/Ca = 218.275 ± 59.957 mmol mol−1) and stage V larvae (n = 10 per sample) from 12 different broods (mean Sr/Ca = 6.110 ± 0.300 mmol mol−1; mean Mg/Ca = 267.081 ± 67.211 mmol mol–1) were measured using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP–OES). The ratio of Sr/Ca significantly increased from stage III to stage V larvae, suggesting an ontogenic shift in Sr/Ca ratios between larval stages. The ratio of Mg/Ca did not change significantly between larval stages, but variability among broods was high. The method used to examine the trace-element ratios provided robust, highly reproducible estimates of Sr/Ca and Mg/Ca ratios in the larvae of M. mercenaria, demonstrating that ICP–OES can be used to determine the trace-element composition of chitinous organisms like the Florida stone crab.
|Title||A methodology for quantifying trace elements in the exoskeletons of Florida stone crab (<i>Menippe mercenaria</i>) larvae using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP–OES)|
|Authors||Philip M. Gravinese, Jennifer A. Flannery, Lauren T. Toth|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Open-File Report|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center|