Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE (Open Access)

Testing otolith morphology for measuring marine fish biodiversity

V. M. Tuset A E , M. Farré A , J. L. Otero-Ferrer B , A. Vilar C , B. Morales-Nin D and A. Lombarte A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Instituto de Ciencias del Mar (CSIC), Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta 37–49, E-08003, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

B Departamento de Ecoloxía e Bioloxía Animal, Campus Universitario de Vigo, Fonte das Abelleiras, s/n, E-36310, Vigo, Galicia, Spain.

C Facultade de Informática, Campus de Elviña s/n, E-15071, A Coruña, Galicia, Spain.

D Institut Mediterrani d’Estudis Avançats (CSIC-UIB), C/ Miquel Marqués, E-07190, Esporles, Balearic Islands, Spain.

E Corresponding author. Email: vtuset@icm.csic.es

Marine and Freshwater Research 67(7) 1037-1048 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF15052
Submitted: 7 February 2015  Accepted: 7 November 2015   Published: 1 March 2016

Abstract

To check the suitability of otoliths for measuring biodiversity, the contour and shape of the sulcus acusticus of sagittal otoliths were described using geometric morphological analysis. Thirteen and fourteen points were used to define these structures respectively. Three current coastal fish assemblages of the north-western Mediterranean were selected for the present study. The results demonstrate that the relative warps generated in the geometric analysis explained both characteristics related to contour and the otolith sulcus. A comparative study with body fish shape using morphospaces and clusters revealed that otolith shape is a better variable for explaining the ecological structure of a fish assemblage. Moreover, three morphological indices (morphological richness (MR), morphological disparity and the morphogeometric index) were estimated from relative warps of otoliths and were compared with ecological, taxonomic, functional and morphological (from body shape) indices. MR increased with functional diversity and average taxonomic distinctness, reflecting the ecological and taxonomic character of otolith morphology. These findings suggest that otoliths could be a useful tool for studying the diversity of present and past fish assemblages.

Additional keywords: geometric morphology, otolith shape.


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