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The present study assesses swimbladder dynamics in natural occurring sardine, Sardina pilchardus, populations with the aim to examine whether this is affected by bathymetric positioning and the physiological state of the individuals. To do so swimbladder size and shape were modeled in relation to catch depth and the size of various visceral compartments such as gonad, liver, fat and stomach. Swimbladder size was shown to be related to depth in a way that individuals with smaller swimbladders occurred at larger depths. Moreover, evidence is provided that swimbladder in sardine might have a functional relationship both with the reproductive and the feeding state of individuals since none of the fish with hydrated gonads and/or large stomachs displayed distended swimbladders.
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