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The use of otolith shape analysis for ageing juvenile red snapper, Lutjanus campechanus

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Abstract

Morphological changes in otolith shape with age, of young (<age 3) red snapper were examined through shape analysis and tested as an objective method for age determination. Otoliths from two collections of juvenile fish (hatchery and wild) were used in the study. First, shape analysis was applied to a series of known-age otoliths from hatchery-reared age 0, 1 and 2 fish. Multidimensional scaling and non-parametric analysis of similarities showed significant shape differences among the three age classes of fish. Discriminant function analysis and cross-validation classification showed 65.6% correct age classification based on shape variables alone, and 86.7% correct age classification with inclusion of otolith weight in the discriminant function (n = 90). Subsequently, the method was applied to otoliths from a series of age 0, 1 and 2 wild caught red snapper. Otoliths from wild fish showed a similar age classification success rate of 68.9% based on shape variables alone and 86.7% correct age classification with the inclusion of otolith weight in the discriminant function (n = 90). Ageing of juvenile red snapper through otolith increment counts has been difficult in past studies and this study provides an alternative, objective method of otolith shape analysis for ageing young fish of this species.

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Acknowledgments

We thank A. Chapin, J. Conti, D. Dziekan, C. Simmons, D. Stafford and D. Topping, for help with field and data collection and the two anonymous reviewers for providing input on the manuscript. This project was funded by Marine Resources Division, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. This is a contribution of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, and the Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures, Auburn University. All work was carried out under Auburn University Animal Care and Use Committee approval, under Protocol 2006-0959.

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Correspondence to Sabrina G. Beyer.

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Beyer, S.G., Szedlmayer, S.T. The use of otolith shape analysis for ageing juvenile red snapper, Lutjanus campechanus . Environ Biol Fish 89, 333–340 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10641-010-9684-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10641-010-9684-z

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