The use of stable isotopes as powerful “natural tags” for reconstructing fishes’ environmental and life history, has been largely restricted to ear bones or otoliths. The extraction of otoliths requires sacrificing the fish, which is not allowed for endangered species, and greatly affects the appearance of a fish, which is non-practical for commercially valuable species as it can diminish their market value. The aim of the SIFINS project is to investigate tuna dorsal fin spines as a non-invasive chronological recorder alternative to otoliths for reconstructing environmental histories of individual fishes throughout their lifetime. Using SI signatures in fin spines of key highly migratory temperate and tropical tunas, SIFINS proposes a novel multispecies and interdisciplinary approach integrating the fields of chronology, chemistry and population dynamics research. SIFINS expect to provide:

  • A better understanding of the migration pattern and population-stock structure of tunas across their distribution range.
  • A new and original perspective of stable isotope chemistry research in fishes, particularly relevant to support the management of endangered and commercially valuable species under the EU Biodiversity and Fisheries policies priorities.

The results of the project will promote EU excellence in marine fish population dynamics, likely to be of increasing interest in the future due to climate and human-induced change to marine environments.


Project Data


07/2017 – 07/2019


Marie Curie H2020 project (ID 753304

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