Comparisons of herring otoliths using Fourier series shape analysis

Bird, JL, Eppler DT, Checkley DM.  1986.  Comparisons of herring otoliths using Fourier series shape analysis. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 43:1228-1234.

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Numeric analysis of otolith morphology provides vital information to commercial fisheries concerning the age distribution, racial origin, and, to some extent, the environmental history of fish stocks. Conventional methods used to retrieve these data, though proven to be effective, are time consuming, susceptible to ambiguous interpretations, and only semiquantitative. Fourier shape descriptors, when used to analyze outlines of otolith silhouettes, represent a rapid, objective, semiautomated means of obtaining much of this information. Analysis of Fourier shape information derived from otoliths of juvenile and adult Alaskan herring and adult Northwest Atlantic herring show that otolith shape reflects differences in fish age and fish race. The shape of otoliths of juvenile fish are significantly different from those of adult fish. Few shape differences can be found, though, between otoliths from adult fish of different age within the same stock. Distinct differences exist between Atlantic and Alaskan adult otolith shapes. For some stocks, minor shape differences occur between left and right otoliths. Differences in otolith shape arising from sexual dimorphism are not apparent.