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The role of measurement error on the interpretation of otolith increment width in the study of growth in larval fish

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Abstract:

Patterns in increment widths and the associated measurement error were studied in the otoliths of radiated shanny (Ulvaria subbifurcata) larvae sampled from the field. Mean increment widths increased with larval age, whereas the relative measurement error decreased. Furthermore, the level of serial correlation in increment widths showed a clear increase with age. When measurement error was taken into consideration, the pattern of serial correlation indicates that an individual's growth increments did not show the effect of changes in local environmental conditions for at least 3 days, independent of age. Only after that period can we hope to detect the effect of environmental influences on increment widths (and by inference growth rates). The patterns of measurement error and serial correlation will have direct impacts on our ability to find the influence of environmental conditions on growth rates of individual larvae and determine patterns of selective loss in a population of larval fish.

Nous avons étudié les patrons d'accroissements en largeur et les erreurs de mesure associées dans les otolithes de larves de l'Ulvaire à deux lignes (Ulvaria subbifurcata) récoltées en nature. Les accroissements moyens en largeur augmentent avec l'âge des larves, alors que les erreurs de mesure relatives diminuent. De plus, le niveau d'autocorrélation entre les accroissements en largeur s'accroît nettement avec l'âge. Si l'on tient compte des erreurs de mesure, le patron d'autocorrélation indique que les accroissements de croissance d'un individu ne reflètent pas les changements dans les conditions de l'environnement local avant au moins trois jours, indépendamment de l'âge. C'est seulement après cette période que l'on peut espérer déceler les effets des influences environnementales sur les accroissements en largeur et, par inférence, sur les taux de croissance. Les patterns des erreurs de mesure et de l'autocorrélation influencent directement notre capacité de déterminer l'influence des conditions du milieu sur les taux de croissance de larves individuelles et d'établir les patterns de pertes sélectives dans les populations de larves de poissons.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2001

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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