Otolith microchemical analysis is a technique used in fisheries management and fisheries biology to delineate stocks and characterize movements, and natal origin of fish. The concentrations of elements and isotopes in otoliths are compared to those in the water in which the fish inhabits in order to identify where it has been. In non-ostariophysian fishes, the largest of the three otoliths, or ear bones, the sagitta is analyzed by one of several methods to determine the concentrations of various trace elements and stable isotopes. In ostariophysian fishes, the lapilli is the largest otolith and may be more commonly analysed.
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