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Does increased information about reproductive potential result in better prediction of recruitment?

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The relationship between stock size and recruitment is an essential element in the understanding of the productivity of a population. However, predicting the number of recruits produced by a population has proven to be a difficult challenge. This may in part be a result of poor estimation of reproductive potential (RP). We determined if including increased information on reproductive biology in indices of RP results in better predictions of recruitment. We investigated some of the conditions that lead to better (or worse) recruitment prediction when more biologically complex indices of RP are used. Data from four populations in the Northwest Atlantic were examined: southern Grand Bank (NAFO Division 3NO) cod (Gadus morhua), Flemish Cap (NAFO Division 3M) cod, Newfoundland (NAFO Division 3LNO) American plaice (Hippoglossoides platessoides), and Greenland halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) (NAFO Subarea 2 + Division 3KLMNO). Stock–recruit models paired with complex indices of RP gave a better estimate of recruitment in slightly more than half of the tests conducted. When there were larger trends in the reproductive biology (maturity at age, sex ratio and egg production), more complex indices of RP were more likely to provide a better estimate of recruitment.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Institute of Marine Research, CSIC, Vigo, Spain.

Publication date: August 27, 2011

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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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