Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

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Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom (2010), 90:95-104 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 2010

Research Article

Length–weight relationships of 216 North Sea benthic invertebrates and fish

L.A. Robinsona1 c1, S.P.R. Greenstreeta2, H. Reissa3, R. Callawaya4, J. Craeymeerscha5, I. de Booisa5, S. Degraera6, S. Ehricha7, H.M. Frasera2, A. Goffina6, I. Krönckea3, L. Lindal Jorgensona8, M.R. Robertsona2 and J. Lancastera4

a1 School of Biological Sciences, Ecosystem Dynamics Group, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, L69 7ZB, UK
a2 Fisheries Research Services, Marine Laboratory, PO Box 101, Aberdeen, AB11 9DB, UK
a3 Senckenberg Institute, Department of Marine Science, Südstrand 40, 26382 Wilhelmshaven, Germany
a4 University of Wales, Swansea, Singleton Park, Swansea, SA2 8PP, UK
a5 Netherlands Institute for Fisheries Research (IMARES), PO Box 77, 4400 AB Yerseke, The Netherlands
a6 Ghent University, Department of Biology, Marine Biology Section, K.L. Ledeganckstraat 35, B 9000, Gent, Belgium
a7 Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries, Institute of Sea Fisheries, Palmaille 9, 22767 Hamburg, Germany
a8 Institute of Marine Research, Box 1870, 5817 Bergen, Norway
Article author query
robinson la [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
greenstreet spr [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
reiss h [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
callaway r [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
craeymeersch j [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
de boois i [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
degraer s [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
ehrich s [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
fraser hm [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
goffin a [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
kröncke i [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
jorgenson ll [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
robertson mr [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
lancaster j [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


Size-based analyses of marine animals are increasingly used to improve understanding of community structure and function. However, the resources required to record individual body weights for benthic animals, where the number of individuals can reach several thousand in a square metre, are often prohibitive. Here we present morphometric (length–weight) relationships for 216 benthic species from the North Sea to permit weight estimation from length measurements. These relationships were calculated using data collected over two years from 283 stations. For ten abundant and widely dispersed species we tested for significant spatial and temporal differences in morphometric relationships. Some were found, but the magnitude of differences was small in relation to the size-ranges of animals that are usually present and we recommend that the regression relationships given here, based on pooled data, are appropriate for most types of population and community analyses. Our hope is that the availability of these morphometric relationships will encourage the more frequent application of size-based analyses to benthic survey data, and so enhance understanding of the ecology of the benthic/demersal component of marine ecosystems and food webs.

(Received February 25 2009)

(Accepted September 21 2009)

(Online publication January 14 2010)

Keywordslength–weight relationships; benthos; demersal fish; size structure; size-based analyses


c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: L.A. Robinson, Ecosystem Dynamics Group School of Biological Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, L69 7ZB, UK email: