Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name



Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research


Health and environmental sciences, Biological sciences, Lota lota, Microchemistry, Otoliths, Perca flavescens, Salvelinus namaycush, Sander vitreus


Brian J. Fryer




Understanding the growth and composition of otoliths continues to be a fundamental challenge for chemists and biologists. Since the recognition of the daily increment pattern in the 1970s, there has been a growing interest in otolith microstructure. The purpose of my Ph.D. dissertation was to understand the mechanisms controlling otolith microchemistry and the factors affecting metal uptake in fish otoliths. In Chapter 2, I utilized chemical and spectroscopic analyses of vaterite and aragonite growth in sagittal otoliths of lake trout in an effort to better understand the crystalline growth process. I was also interested in learning about the elemental partitioning of metals. Chapter 3 investigated the nucleation of otoliths to determine how otoliths crystallized and if there was a catalyst that would help the crystallization. I also wanted to see how that affected elemental uptake. A preliminary study, conducted on walleye (Sander vitreus) endolymph and otolith composition is also included where the fractionation of metals is investigated. In Chapter 4, metal partitioning between otolith and endolymph of two freshwater species: lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) and burbot (Lota Iota) is studied. In this chapter I also analyzed blood and surface water to give new insights on the partitioning of metals between these filters. Lastly, Chapter 5 explored the turnover rates of barium and strontium in the blood, bones, whole bodies and otoliths of yellow perch (Perca flavescens ) using enriched isotope tracers (strontium and barium). The ultimate goal of this research is to improve the ability of scientists to use otolith microchemical investigations for fisheries-related research and management.