Spatial and sex-specific variation in growth of albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) across the South Pacific Ocean

Ashley J. Williams, Jessica H. Farley, Simon D. Hoyle, Campbell R. Davies, Simon J. Nicol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Spatial variation in growth is a common feature of demersal fish populations which often exist as discrete adult sub-populations linked by a pelagic larval stage. However, it remains unclear whether variation in growth occurs at similar spatial scales for populations of highly migratory pelagic species, such as tuna. We examined spatial variation in growth of albacore Thunnus alalunga across 90° of longitude in the South Pacific Ocean from the east coast of Australia to the Pitcairn Islands. Using length-at-age data from a validated ageing method we found evidence for significant variation in length-at-age and growth parameters (L and k) between sexes and across longitudes. Growth trajectories were similar between sexes up until four years of age, after which the length-at-age for males was, on average, greater than that for females. Males reached an average maximum size more than 8 cm larger than females. Length-at-age and growth parameters were consistently greater at more easterly longitudes than at westerly longitudes for both females and males. Our results provide strong evidence that finer spatial structure exists within the South Pacific albacore stock and raises the question of whether the scale of their "highly migratory" nature should be re-assessed. Future stock assessment models for South Pacific albacore should consider sex-specific growth curves and spatial variation in growth within the stock.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere39318
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalPLoS One
Volume7
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Pacific Ocean
Thunnus alalunga
gender
spatial variation
Growth
Pitcairn Islands
Pitcairn Island
longitude
trajectories
Population
coasts
Fish
Coastal zones
Fishes
Aging of materials
Trajectories

Cite this

Williams, A. J., Farley, J. H., Hoyle, S. D., Davies, C. R., & Nicol, S. J. (2012). Spatial and sex-specific variation in growth of albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) across the South Pacific Ocean. PLoS One, 7(6), 1-10. [e39318]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0039318
Williams, Ashley J. ; Farley, Jessica H. ; Hoyle, Simon D. ; Davies, Campbell R. ; Nicol, Simon J. / Spatial and sex-specific variation in growth of albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) across the South Pacific Ocean. In: PLoS One. 2012 ; Vol. 7, No. 6. pp. 1-10.
@article{b0bf38d722fd489db98fa38f6ef555b0,
title = "Spatial and sex-specific variation in growth of albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) across the South Pacific Ocean",
abstract = "Spatial variation in growth is a common feature of demersal fish populations which often exist as discrete adult sub-populations linked by a pelagic larval stage. However, it remains unclear whether variation in growth occurs at similar spatial scales for populations of highly migratory pelagic species, such as tuna. We examined spatial variation in growth of albacore Thunnus alalunga across 90° of longitude in the South Pacific Ocean from the east coast of Australia to the Pitcairn Islands. Using length-at-age data from a validated ageing method we found evidence for significant variation in length-at-age and growth parameters (L ∞ and k) between sexes and across longitudes. Growth trajectories were similar between sexes up until four years of age, after which the length-at-age for males was, on average, greater than that for females. Males reached an average maximum size more than 8 cm larger than females. Length-at-age and growth parameters were consistently greater at more easterly longitudes than at westerly longitudes for both females and males. Our results provide strong evidence that finer spatial structure exists within the South Pacific albacore stock and raises the question of whether the scale of their {"}highly migratory{"} nature should be re-assessed. Future stock assessment models for South Pacific albacore should consider sex-specific growth curves and spatial variation in growth within the stock.",
author = "Williams, {Ashley J.} and Farley, {Jessica H.} and Hoyle, {Simon D.} and Davies, {Campbell R.} and Nicol, {Simon J.}",
year = "2012",
month = "6",
day = "19",
doi = "10.1371/journal.pone.0039318",
language = "English",
volume = "7",
pages = "1--10",
journal = "PLoS One",
issn = "1932-6203",
publisher = "Public Library of Science",
number = "6",

}

Spatial and sex-specific variation in growth of albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) across the South Pacific Ocean. / Williams, Ashley J.; Farley, Jessica H.; Hoyle, Simon D.; Davies, Campbell R.; Nicol, Simon J.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 7, No. 6, e39318, 19.06.2012, p. 1-10.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Spatial and sex-specific variation in growth of albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) across the South Pacific Ocean

AU - Williams, Ashley J.

AU - Farley, Jessica H.

AU - Hoyle, Simon D.

AU - Davies, Campbell R.

AU - Nicol, Simon J.

PY - 2012/6/19

Y1 - 2012/6/19

N2 - Spatial variation in growth is a common feature of demersal fish populations which often exist as discrete adult sub-populations linked by a pelagic larval stage. However, it remains unclear whether variation in growth occurs at similar spatial scales for populations of highly migratory pelagic species, such as tuna. We examined spatial variation in growth of albacore Thunnus alalunga across 90° of longitude in the South Pacific Ocean from the east coast of Australia to the Pitcairn Islands. Using length-at-age data from a validated ageing method we found evidence for significant variation in length-at-age and growth parameters (L ∞ and k) between sexes and across longitudes. Growth trajectories were similar between sexes up until four years of age, after which the length-at-age for males was, on average, greater than that for females. Males reached an average maximum size more than 8 cm larger than females. Length-at-age and growth parameters were consistently greater at more easterly longitudes than at westerly longitudes for both females and males. Our results provide strong evidence that finer spatial structure exists within the South Pacific albacore stock and raises the question of whether the scale of their "highly migratory" nature should be re-assessed. Future stock assessment models for South Pacific albacore should consider sex-specific growth curves and spatial variation in growth within the stock.

AB - Spatial variation in growth is a common feature of demersal fish populations which often exist as discrete adult sub-populations linked by a pelagic larval stage. However, it remains unclear whether variation in growth occurs at similar spatial scales for populations of highly migratory pelagic species, such as tuna. We examined spatial variation in growth of albacore Thunnus alalunga across 90° of longitude in the South Pacific Ocean from the east coast of Australia to the Pitcairn Islands. Using length-at-age data from a validated ageing method we found evidence for significant variation in length-at-age and growth parameters (L ∞ and k) between sexes and across longitudes. Growth trajectories were similar between sexes up until four years of age, after which the length-at-age for males was, on average, greater than that for females. Males reached an average maximum size more than 8 cm larger than females. Length-at-age and growth parameters were consistently greater at more easterly longitudes than at westerly longitudes for both females and males. Our results provide strong evidence that finer spatial structure exists within the South Pacific albacore stock and raises the question of whether the scale of their "highly migratory" nature should be re-assessed. Future stock assessment models for South Pacific albacore should consider sex-specific growth curves and spatial variation in growth within the stock.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84862562500&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1371/journal.pone.0039318

DO - 10.1371/journal.pone.0039318

M3 - Article

VL - 7

SP - 1

EP - 10

JO - PLoS One

JF - PLoS One

SN - 1932-6203

IS - 6

M1 - e39318

ER -