Journal Article

Morphometric variation among sardine (<i>Sardina pilchardus</i>) populations from the northeastern Atlantic and the western Mediterranean

Alexandra Silva

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 60, issue 6, pages 1352-1360
Published in print January 2003 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2003 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI:
Morphometric variation among sardine (Sardina pilchardus) populations from the northeastern Atlantic and the western Mediterranean

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  • Environmental Science
  • Marine and Estuarine Biology


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During the past decade, regional changes in the dynamics of the Atlanto-Iberian stock of sardine, and its exploitation by Portuguese and Spanish purse-seine fisheries, have increased the uncertainties in estimated trends of spawning biomass, stock abundance, and fishing mortality. Together with recent evidence for lack of discontinuities in the distribution of sardine eggs at the edges of the stock area, this casts doubts on the hypothesis that the stock is a panmictic, closed population. Sardine morphometric data (truss variables and landmark data) from 14 samples spanning the northeastern Atlantic and the western Mediterranean were analysed by multivariate and geometric methods. The analyses explored the homogeneity of sardine shape within the area studied, as well as its relation to that of adjacent and distant populations (Azores and northwestern Mediterranean). Principal components analysis on size-corrected truss variables and cluster analysis of mean fish shape using landmark data indicate that the shape of sardine off southern Iberia and Morocco is distinct from the shape of sardine in the rest of the area. The two groups of sardine are significantly separated by discriminant analysis, and their validity was confirmed by large percentages of correct classifications of test fish (87 and 86% of fish from the test sample were correctly classified into each group, respectively). There was also some evidence that fish from the western Mediterranean and the Azores form a separate morphometric group. These results question both the homogeneity within the Atlanto-Iberian sardine stock and the validity of its current boundaries.

Keywords: morphometrics; NE Atlantic; sardine; stock identification

Journal Article.  5334 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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