Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 101, Issue 5, pp 775–789 | Cite as

Age-specific environmental differences on the otolith shape of the bastard grunt (Pomadasys incisus) in the north-western Mediterranean

  • H. Villegas-Hernández
  • J. Lloret
  • M. Muñoz
  • G. R. Poot-López
  • S. Guillén-Hernández
  • C. González-Salas


The effects of sex, age, and environment on the shape of the bastard grunt (Pomadasys incisus) otoliths from the north-western Mediterranean were investigated. Specimens of this species were collected from two separate sampling areas in the north-western Mediterranean with different thermal regimes. Sex, growth rates, and age of P. incisus were determined by using gonad histology techniques, biometric analyses, and otolith microstructure analyses, respectively. The shape was described using normalized Elliptic Fourier descriptors (EFDs), and studied by means of multivariate statistics as predictive variables with age-specific discriminant analyses. There were no consistent differences found between sexes, but otolith shapes varied significantly between environments within different age classes. Total classification success varied between 87.3% and 89.2% between environments for the different age classes and provided a phenotypic basis for P. incisus population separation within an environmental gradient in determining its otolith shape. In addition, significant differences were observed between sampling areas in von Bertalanffy’s growth parameters, as well as in the fish length-weight (LWR) and fish length-otolith radius (TL-Ro) relationships. Data was discussed considering that the physical habitat variability could underlie a marked change in otolith shape during the animals’ growth. In this matter, we discussed the relative importance of both ontogenetic and environmental conditions (such as water temperature) on otolith shape.


Pomadasys incises Age Otolith shape Fourier analysis Spatial variation 



The authors would like to thank the Abertis Foundation for the financial support given to this research (Ref. 1018-100305-00) and the University of Girona for further financial support (R + D ASING2011, Ref. SING11/10). Our sincere thanks to the IRTA research centre (particularly to Guiomar Rotllant and Rosa Trobajo) for their assistance during sampling. Finally, Harold Villegas-Hernandez would like to thank the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) in Mexico for the scholarship (Ref. 215050) that has enabled him to pursue his PhD studies at the University of Girona.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Biología MarinaUniversidad Autónoma de YucatánMéridaMexico
  2. 2.Faculty of Sciences, Institute of Aquatic EcologyUniversity of GironaGironaSpain

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