This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ Preprints) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.
Cite this article
Johnson EG, Swenarton MK.2016. Age, growth and population structure of invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans/miles) in northeast Florida using a length-based, age-structured population model. PeerJ Preprints4:e2366v1https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.2366v1
The effective management of invasive species requires a detailed understanding of the invader’s life history. This information is essential for modeling population growth and predicting rates of expansion, quantifying ecological impacts and assessing the efficacy of removal and control strategies. Indo-Pacific lionfish ( Pterois volitans/miles ) have rapidly invaded the western Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea with documented negative impacts on native ecosystems. To better understand the life history of this species, we developed and validated a length-based, age-structured model to investigate age, growth and population structure in northeast Florida. The main findings of this study were: (1) lionfish exhibited rapid growth with seasonal variation in growth rates, (2) distinct cohorts were clearly identifiable in the length-frequency data suggesting that lionfish arerecruiting during a relatively short period in summer, and (3) the majority of lionfish were less than two years old with no lionfish older than 3 years of age, possibly as a result of an ontogenetic shift to deeper water, which may provide a reservoir of spawning biomass not accessible to recreational or commercial spearfishing.