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Rapid changes in life-history characteristics of a long-lived temperate reef fish


Ziegler, PE and Lyle, JM and Haddon, M and Ewing, G, Rapid changes in life-history characteristics of a long-lived temperate reef fish, Marine and Freshwater Research, 58, (12) pp. 1096-1107. ISSN 1323-1650 (2007) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1071/MF07137


Banded morwong, Cheilodactylus spectabilis, a long-lived sedentary temperate reef fish, has undergone rapid changes in its growth and maturity characteristics along the east coast of Tasmania, Australia. Over a period of 10 years, growth of young males and females has consistently accelerated, such that in 2005, 3-year-old fish were up to 40 mm or 13% longer compared with 1996, and age at 50% maturity for females had declined from 4 to 3 years. The magnitude and speed of the observed changes were unexpected given the species' longevity (maximum age of over 95 years). The underlying mechanisms for the changes remain unclear but density-dependent responses to changes in population size and age composition, possibly mediated through reduced competition for shelter and intra-specific interactions, may have been contributing factors. Increasing sea surface temperatures over part of the period of change does not appear to have been a major driver and a genetic response to fishing seems unlikely. Notwithstanding any uncertainty, C. spectabilis populations have become more productive in recent years, challenging the general approach towards stock assessment where life-history characteristics are assumed to remain stable across contrasting levels of stock abundance and environmental conditions. © CSIRO 2007.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries sciences
Research Field:Aquaculture and fisheries stock assessment
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - wild caught
Objective Field:Fisheries - wild caught not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Ziegler, PE (Dr Philippe Ziegler)
UTAS Author:Lyle, JM (Associate Professor Jeremy Lyle)
UTAS Author:Haddon, M (Associate Professor Malcolm Haddon)
UTAS Author:Ewing, G (Mr Graeme Ewing)
ID Code:50153
Year Published:2007
Web of Science® Times Cited:15
Deposited By:TAFI - Marine Research Laboratory
Deposited On:2007-08-01
Last Modified:2009-08-06

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