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Geographic intraspecific variation in buoyancy within Antarctic notothenioid fishes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 November 2008

Thomas J. Near
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520-8105, USA
Christopher D. Jones
Southwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 8604 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037-1508, USA
Joseph T. Eastman
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Ohio University, Athens, OH 45701-2979, USA
E-mail address:


We investigated intraspecific geographic variation in buoyancy by obtaining percentage buoyancy (%B) measurements for the Antarctic notothenioid species Pleuragramma antarcticum, Trematomus hansoni, T. bernacchii and Gymnodraco acuticeps from both McMurdo Sound in East Antarctica and the South Shetland Islands in West Antarctica. Mean percentage buoyancies in these species ranged from 0.22–0.52% in the neutrally buoyant P. antarcticum to 3.34–3.67% in the benthic T. bernacchii. Dispersion (1 standard deviation) of percentage buoyancy (%B) values around the mean was ± 0.2–0.5 %B units for the entire sample. Although intraspecific differences in mean percentage buoyancy were statistically significant (P < 0.05) in P. antarcticum and T. hansoni, we consider these differences as normal variation without substantive biological significance. The dispersion in buoyancy measurements during adult life reflects the density of the fish and this may be influenced, in both the short- and long-term, by gut contents, nutritional condition, and reproductive state. Mitigation of the effects of these variables is not biologically realistic because they constitute normal aspects of the daily and yearly life cycles. The results of our measurements of buoyancy are consistent with what is known about the ecology of these four species and this is considered in the discussion.

Biological Sciences
Copyright © Antarctic Science Ltd 2009

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