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The effects of genetics and rearing environments on morphometric variation among hatchery stocks of Asian sea bass (300 days post-hatch) were investigated by multivariate analyses of 21 truss measurements. Ninety-day-old fingerlings from four stocks, including Ang Sila, Bang Pakong, Meklong and Paknam, were stocked in the same earthen pond and reared for 270 days. These stocks were genetically different from each other. Principal component analysis (PCA) of body measurements suggested very little body shape difference among populations. Subsequently, discriminant function analysis (DFA) was used to assign individuals to their stock of origin. The accuracy of assignment was highest for the Ang Sila stock (77.7%) followed by Bang Pakong (72.4%), Meklong (66.1%) and Pak Nam (65.5%). Analysis of the Ang Sila stock reared in two locations, Chantaburi and Prachuab Kirikhan provinces, suggested that salinity is an important factor affecting body shape differentiation. DFA identified the two most discriminating truss measures, both of which were correlated with head size. The classification functions assigned individuals to groups with 100% accuracy. The results demonstrated that multivariate morphometrics is an effective tool for detecting variation among stocks in Asian sea bass aquaculture.
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