Jump to Main Content
Otolith shape and size: The importance of age when determining indices for fish-stock separation
- Mapp, James, Hunter, Ewan, Van Der Kooij, Jeroen, Songer, Sally, Fisher, Mark
- Fisheries research 2017 v.190 pp. 43-52
- Clupea harengus, Sprattus sprattus, algorithms, artificial intelligence, herring, juveniles, morphometry, otoliths
- Stock-separation of highly mobile Clupeids (sprat – Sprattus sprattus and herring – Clupea harengus) using otolith morphometrics was explored. Analysis focused on three stock discrimination problems with the aim of reassigning individual otoliths to source populations using experiments undertaken using a machine learning environment known as WEKA (Waikato Environment for Knowledge Analysis). Six feature sets encoding combinations of size and shape together with nine learning algorithms were explored. To assess saliency of size/shape features half of the feature sets included size indices, the remainder encoded only shape. Otolith sample sets were partitioned by age so that the impact of age on classification accuracy could be assessed for each method. In total we performed 540 experiments, representing a comprehensive evaluation of otolith morphometrics and learning algorithms. Results show that for juveniles, methods encoding only shape performed well, but those that included size indices held more classification potential. However as fish age, shape encoding methods were more robust than those including size information. This study suggests that methods of stock discrimination based on early incremental growth are likely to be effective, and that automated classification techniques will show little benefit in supplementing early growth information with shape indices derived from mature outlines.