Soft bodies make estimation hard: Correlations among body dimensions and weights of multiple species of sea cucumbers

Prescott, J, Zhou, S and Prasetyo, AP ORCID: 2015, 'Soft bodies make estimation hard: Correlations among body dimensions and weights of multiple species of sea cucumbers' , Marine and Freshwater Research, 66 , pp. 857-865.

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Tropical sea cucumbers are commonly exploited by small-scale, poorly managed fisheries. A fundamental problem in managing sea cucumber fisheries is the lack of basic knowledge of important life history characteristics for most species. As a result of plastic body dimensions, biological research on this group of animals becomes exceptionally challenging. To improve our understanding of essential biological parameters, we conducted a study to investigate correlations among various body measurements. We analysed a total of 18 sea cucumber species and more than 6600 individuals collected at Scott Reef in the Timor Sea, north-west Australia. We used hierarchical Bayesian errors-in-variables models to specifically take into account measurement errors that are obviously unavoidable. The measures included three types of weights (wet weight, gutted weight and dry weight) and two body dimensions (length and width). The modelling reveals that using both body length and width as independent variables, wet weight increases approximately linearly with body length, but is a power function (~1.6) of body width, although variability exists among species. Dry weight tends to increase more slowly with body length, but has a similar power function of body width. Linear relationships are established between the three types of weights. On average, ~11% of a live specimen and ~16% of a gutted specimen is processed to the commercially traded dry body wall. Our results can be applied to sea cucumbers in other areas and can be useful for data standardisation and size-based fisheries management.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Marine and Freshwater Research
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
ISSN: 1323-1650
Depositing User: ANDHIKA PRIMA Prasetyo
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2022 15:49
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 08:45

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