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Inferring age from otolith measurements: a review and a new approach

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In 1985, Boehlert (Fish. Bull. 83: 103–117) suggested that fish age could be estimated from otolith measurements. Since that time, a number of inferential techniques have been proposed and tested in a range of species. A review of these techniques shows that all are subject to at least one of four types of bias. In addition, they all focus on assigning ages to individual fish, whereas the estimation of population parameters (particularly proportions at age) is usually the goal. We propose a new flexible method of inference based on mixture analysis, which avoids these biases and makes better use of the data. We argue that the most appropriate technique for evaluating the performance of these methods is a cost–benefit analysis that compares the cost of the estimated ages with that of the traditional annulus count method. A simulation experiment is used to illustrate both the new method and the cost–benefit analysis.

Boehlert a indiqué en 1985 (Fish. Bull. 83: 103–117) que l'âge des poissons pouvait être déterminé à partir de mesures des otolithes. Depuis lors, plusieurs techniques d'inférence ont été proposées et évaluées sur une gamme d'espèces. Une revue de ces techniques montre que toutes sont soumises à au moins un de quatre types de biais. De plus, toutes cherchent à assigner un âge à des poissons individuels, alors que le but est l'estimation des variables démographiques, en particulier la proportion d'individus à chacun des âges. Nous proposons une nouvelle méthode flexible d'inférence basée sur l'analyse des mélanges qui évite ces biais et qui fait un meilleur usage des données. Nous croyons que la technique la plus appropriée pour évaluer la performance de ces méthodes est une analyse de coûts–bénéfices qui compare le coût des âges estimés avec celui de la méthode traditionnelle du dénombrement des annulus. Une expérience de simulation permet d'illustrer tant la nouvelle méthode que l'analyse coûts–bénéfices.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-07-01

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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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