Comment on “Does the fall phytoplankton bloom control recruitment of Georges Bank haddock, Melanogrammus aeglefinus, through parental condition?”

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In the paper “Does the fall phytoplankton bloom control recruitment of Georges Bank haddock, Melanogrammus aeglefinus, through parental condition?”, Friedland et al. (Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 65(6): 1076–1086, 2008) examine a sizable number of hypotheses aiming to explain the recruitment patterns observed in Georges Bank haddock. The authors focus on a correlation between the size of the autumnal phytoplankton bloom and the survivor ratio (recruitment), concluding this to be the main factor determining recruitment, via the mechanism of adult condition at the time of spawning. Here we examine this result in close detail and re-analyse some of the data presented in the paper. We show that the recruitment metric upon which Friedland et al. base their conclusions inadvertently biases the analysis in favour of high recruitment events and against low recruitments. As a consequence, Friedland et al. disregard correlations that are, in fact, significant. Furthermore, we show that the parental condition hypothesis hinges upon a single, highly uncertain data point, without which the correlation is no longer significant. We find that evidence for the parental condition hypothesis is weak, and that in performing the analysis in the chosen manner, Friedland et al. have overlooked alternative hypotheses.

Dans leur article « Does the fall phytoplankton bloom control recruitment of Georges Bank haddock, Melanogrammus aeglefinus, through parental condition? », Friedland et al. (J. can. sci. halieut. aquat. 65(6): 1076–1086, 2008) examinent un bon nombre d’hypothèses visant à expliquer les patrons de recrutement observés chez les aiglefins du banc Georges. Les auteurs se sont intéressés particulièrement à une corrélation entre l’importance de la floraison automnale de phytoplancton et le rapport des survivants (recrutement) et en concluent qu’il s’agit là du facteur explicatif principal du recrutement, par l’intermédiaire du mécanisme de la condition des adultes au moment de la fraie. Nous examinons ce résultat en grand détail et nous analysons de nouveau certaines des données présentées dans le travail. Nous démontrons que la métrique du recrutement sur laquelle Friedland et al. basent leurs conclusions fausse par mégarde l’analyse en faveur des événements de recrutement fort et contre les recrutements faibles. En conséquence, Friedland et al. ne tiennent pas compte de corrélations qui sont, en réalité, significatives. De plus, nous montrons que l’hypothèse de la condition parentale se base sur une seule donnée très incertaine, sans laquelle la corrélation n’est plus significative. Nous trouvons donc que la preuve de l’hypothèse de la condition parentale est faible et qu'en faisant l’analyse de la manière qu’ils ont choisie, Friedland et al. négligent des hypothèses de rechange.

Document Type: Discussion

Publication date: May 1, 2009

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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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