A multidisciplinary approach to identify pelagic shark fins by molecular, morphometric and digital correlation data

Sebastián Hernández, Cristian Gallardo-Escárate, Josué Álvarez-Borrego, María Teresa González, Pilar A. Haye


Accurate species identification is one of the most important issues to conserve and manage shark fisheries. A multidisciplinary approach involving molecular (using variation at ITS2 sequences), morphometrical and image processing species identification was performed to evaluate their discriminating power with three pelagic shark species common to the coasts of Chile (Prionace glauca Linnaeus 1785, Isurus oxyrinchus Rafinesque 1810, and Lamna nasus (Bonnaterre, 1788). Species-specific DNA markers and multivariate analyses based on twenty morphometrical measurements were used to identify fresh and dry fin sets for each shark species. Additionally, coloring patterns and fin shape were jointly used to distinguish dry fin sets of shark species by using digital invariant correlation (relation target and problem image independent of their changes in position, scale and rotation). Our results showed that morphometrical analysis was the least accurate approach, whereas DNA-based identification and image processing approaches were 100% successful on the identification of shark species. Thus ITS2 sequences and morphological diagnostic characteristics such as the ones related to color patterns, allow the correct identification of shark species. Therefore, the implementation of molecular and/or image tools can be applied to confidently identify the main pelagic shark species involved in Chilean landing and fin trade.

Palabras clave

Invariant digital correlation; molecular markers; multivariate analysis; pelagic sharks.

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