Comparison of several populations of Norway lobster, Nephrops norvegicus L., from the Mediterranean and adjacent Atlantic. A biometrics study
Keywords:Nephrops norvegicus, Mediterranean, biometrics, populations, canonical analysis
Six populations of Nephrops norvegicus were compared using canonical variate analysis on morphometric characters. The areas where the samples were obtained were the south coast of Portugal (Algarve) in the Atlantic and five areas in the Mediterranean: the Catalan Sea, the Ligurian Sea, the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Adriatic Sea and the Gulf of Euboikos. Each sample consisted of 50 males with sizes chosen to belong as much as possible to the carapace length range of 30-35 mm. Two systems of variables were used: body measurements (74 variables) and counts of spine rows on the carapace (23 variables). Several criteria were used to select experimental units and variables to include in the statistical analysis: a) homogeneous groups for all areas (using as indicators the mean and the variance of the carapace length), b) normal distribution of the original variables within each group, c) homogeneity of variance between groups, d) variables with few missing values. The conjunction of all these criteria led to a reduction of individuals and variables to be included in the analysis. In the end, 27 variables representing body measurements and groups of 22 to 43 individuals for each area were kept. The first two canonical correlation coefficients were highly significant (p < 0.0001) with the corresponding variates explaining 81% of the variation. There were no single pairs of populations showing complete separation, although the degree of overlap was different when different pairs were compared. The 3 populations in the West and Central Mediterranean, Catalan Sea, Ligurian Sea and Tyrrhenian Sea showed the highest levels of similarity. The population from the Atlantic showed greatest distances overall, followed by the population from the Euboikos Gulf, representing the Eastern extreme of the geographical range.
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