Nursery origin and population connectivity of swordfish Xiphias gladius in the North Pacific Ocean. Academic Article uri icon


  • Element:Ca ratios in the otolith cores of young-of-the-year (YOY) swordfish, Xiphias gladius, were used as natural tracers to predict the nursery origin of subadult and adult swordfish from three foraging grounds in the North Pacific Ocean (NPO). First, the chemistry of otolith cores (proxy for nursery origin) was used to develop nursery-specific elemental signatures in YOY swordfish. Sagittal otoliths of YOY swordfish were collected from four regional nurseries in the NPO between 2000 and 2005: (1) Central Equatorial North Pacific Ocean (CENPO), (2) Central North Pacific Ocean (CNPO), (3) Eastern Equatorial North Pacific Ocean (EENPO) and (4) Western North Pacific Ocean (WNPO). Calcium (43 Ca), magnesium (24 Mg), strontium (88 Sr) and barium (138 Ba) were quantified in the otolith cores of YOY swordfish using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Univariate tests indicated that three element:Ca ratios (Mg:Ca, Sr:Ca and Ba:Ca) were significantly different among nurseries. Overall classification success of YOY swordfish to their nursery of collection was 72% based on quadratic discriminant analysis. Next, element:Ca ratios in the otolith cores of subadults and adults collected from three foraging grounds where targeted fisheries exist (Hawaii, California and Mexico) were examined to calculate nursery-specific contribution estimates. Mixed-stock analysis indicated that the CENPO nursery contributed the majority of individuals to all three foraging grounds (Hawaii 45.613.2%, California 84.610.8% and Mexico 64.515.9%). The results from this study highlight the importance of the CENPO nursery and provide researchers and fisheries managers with new information on the connectivity of the swordfish population in the NPO.

published proceedings

  • J Fish Biol

altmetric score

  • 6.45

author list (cited authors)

  • Wells, R., Quesnell, V. A., Humphreys, R. L., Dewar, H., Rooker, J. R., Alvarado Bremer, J., & Snodgrass, O. E.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Wells, RJ David||Quesnell, Veronica A||Humphreys, Robert L||Dewar, Heidi||Rooker, Jay R||Alvarado Bremer, Jaime||Snodgrass, Owyn E

publication date

  • August 2021