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A methodology for quantifying trace elements in the exoskeletons of Florida stone crab (Menippe mercenaria) larvae using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP–OES)

November 23, 2016

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.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2016
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)
DOI 10.3133/ofr20161148
Authors Philip M. Gravinese, Jennifer A. Flannery, Lauren T. Toth
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2016-1148
Index ID ofr20161148
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center