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Population structure of the black seabream Spondyliosoma cantharus along the south‐west Portuguese coast inferred from otolith chemistry

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The chemistry of black seabream Spondyliosoma cantharus otoliths from three main fishery grounds (Olhão, Sagres and Sesimbra) located along c. 400 km of the Portuguese south and west coasts was examined. Element:Ca ratios were determined in whole otoliths and otolith cores of young adult specimens of 2–3 years of age. Using the data from whole otoliths, it was possible to discriminate among S. cantharus from the three fishing grounds with an average accuracy of 91%. Differences among fishing grounds were significant for all element:Ca ratios, and otoliths from Sagres had significantly higher levels of all ratios compared to the other fishing grounds. In contrast, the chemical composition of the otolith core, representative of the larval stage, showed limited variation among the fishing grounds, with an average discrimination accuracy of only 44%, although the Mg:Ca ratio of the otolith cores was also significantly higher for the Sagres samples. The data suggest that larval stages experienced a homogenous environment consistent with an offshore oceanic spawning. Juveniles appeared to display local residency on the inshore fishing grounds, areas probably characterized by greater environmental heterogeneity. Spondyliosoma cantharus population structure is consistent with distinct local population units that share a spawning ground providing recruits to different coastal fishery areas.
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Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: 01 February 2012

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