Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Are Pacific spiny dogfish lying about their age? A comparison of ageing structures for Squalus suckleyi

Cindy A. Tribuzio A E , Mary Elizabeth Matta B , Christopher Gburski B , Calvin Blood B , Walter Bubley C and Gordon H. Kruse D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Auke Bay Laboratories, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), 17109 Point Lena Loop Road, Juneau, AK 99801, USA.

B Resource Ecology and Fisheries Management, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115, USA.

C South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Marine Resources Research Institute, 217 Fort Johnson Road, Charleston, SC 29412, USA.

D College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 17101 Point Lena Loop Road, Juneau, AK 99801, USA.

E Corresponding author. Email: cindy.tribuzio@noaa.gov

Marine and Freshwater Research - https://doi.org/10.1071/MF16329
Submitted: 23 September 2016  Accepted: 19 May 2017   Published online: 25 August 2017

Abstract

Historically, Pacific spiny dogfish (Squalus suckleyi) have been aged using dorsal fin spines, a method that was validated through bomb radiocarbon analysis and oxytetracycline tagging. However, ages generated using this method generally have poor precision and require estimation of missing growth bands in eroded spines, prompting a search for improved age determination methods. In the present study, spiny dogfish were aged using the historical spine method and a new method involving stained thin sections of vertebral centra. Results of an inter-laboratory exchange demonstrated the need for readers to calibrate ageing criteria with a reference collection before reading structures, a practice that yielded significant improvements in between-reader precision of spine band pair counts. After calibration, the primary readers examined the full sample set. The two structures yielded similar age estimates for younger animals, but centrum estimates were consistently younger than spine estimates after age-10. Although further work is necessary to fully explore potential reasons for the observed bias, such as centrum size and location within the vertebral column, at the present time centra are not a suitable alternative to dorsal fin spines for age determination of Pacific spiny dogfish >10 years of age.

Additional keywords: age calibration, elasmobranch, reader agreement.


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