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Gayana (Concepción)

Print version ISSN 0717-652XOn-line version ISSN 0717-6538


ARAYA, Miguel  and  CUBILLOS, Luis. THE RETROSPECTIVE ANALYSIS OF THE GROWTH IN FISH  AND THEIR ASSOCIATED PROBLEMS. Gayana (Concepc.) [online]. 2002, vol.66, n.2, pp.161-179. ISSN 0717-652X.

The individual fish growth history is recorded in the marks of hard structures, such as otoliths, scales, vertebrates, bones and rays. The retrospective analysis or back-calculation is a technique that allows to use this information to estimate body dimensions at previous ages or stages in the fish life history. This is achieved by using relationships between measurements taken from the hard structure and the body fish. In this paper, the more widely back-calculation methods used in fish are reviewed, as well as the main assumptions in the relationships between the hard structure size and the fish length. In teleosts, the more used hard structure have been the sagittae otoliths and although the technique can be applied to other hard structures, the otoliths are used as a reference. Two approaches are distinguished: a) the proportional methods, and b) the regression method, both approaches begin with estimates of the parameters for the equation that relates the fish length and the otolith size at the moment of the capture. The regression method does not take into account the individual variation in size of fish otoliths. On the contrary, the proportional methods use the information of each fish, i.e. the individual variation. However, both approaches assume that there are a direct proportion between the somatic growth and the otolith growth. In spite of the wide use of back-calculation methods in age and growth studies, the importance of the back-calculation technique have been overlooked when this is applied. This means that the technique is poorly understood. . All the back-calculation methods are based on the proportion between the otolith growth and body growth. However, there is a number of species in which the relationships between body fish and otolito size is non-linear. Better understanding of the relationships between otolith size and body size should improve the accuracy of back-calculation methods, mainly in those where readiness of data exists. The development of back-calculation methods should be addressed to the design of algorithms that consider the time-varying growth rate. Finally, because there are repeated measures and autocorrelation in back-calculation methods the research efforts should be oriented to improve the application of appropriate statistical methods and the uses of time series

Keywords : Back-calculation; fish growth; otolith; growth rate; age.

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