Multi-decadal variation in cohort specific sex ratios and otolith increment growth characteristics of juvenile blue grenadier (Macruronus novaezelandiae)
Sweetman, PC and Haddy, JA and Robertson, SG, Multi-decadal variation in cohort specific sex ratios and otolith increment growth characteristics of juvenile blue grenadier (Macruronus novaezelandiae), Fisheries Research, 201 pp. 79-87. ISSN 0165-7836 (2018) [Refereed Article]
This study presents inter-annual variability of otolith growth from 1993 to 2011 and cohort specific sex ratios from 1976 to 2011 in blue grenadier Macruronus novaezelandiae on the west coast of Tasmania. Length-at-age data highlighted that M. novaezelandiae females grow larger than males with mean length-at-age statistically diverging by three years of age and remaining separated thereafter. Statistical differences in both cumulative, and age specific otolith increment widths-at-age between sexes were detected at earlier ages, but these effects were variable and not consistent with the sexual dimorphism observed for mean length at age. No differences between sexes were evident for the ages 8–14 or 7–11 for cumulative increment widths or age specific otolith increment widths-at-age respectively. Inter-annual variation in mean otolith increment widths for the first five increment zones (juvenile zones) showed a trend of declining increment widths from 2006 to 2010. Inter-annual cohort sex ratio variation across year-of-birth was also significant displaying a similar trend to the first-year otolith increment growth profiles. Regression analysis of birth year sex ratio with mean otolith increment widths indicated a significant negative relationship for first year growth with increasing numbers of male offspring. The inter-annual variation in cohort specific sex ratio suggests that environmental factors may be involved with sex determination. When coupled with climate change these influences could have long term consequences for the fitness of the stock and corresponding flow-on effects into the stock assessment process and future management of the stock.
blue grenadier, sexual dimorphism, otolith increments, sex ratio