Life history demographic parameter synthesis for exploited Florida and Caribbean coral reef fishes

Molly H. Stevens, Steven G. Smith, Jerald S. Ault

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Age- or length-structured stock assessments require reliable life history demographic parameters (growth, mortality, reproduction) to model population dynamics, potential yields and stock sustainability. This study synthesized life history information for 84 commercially exploited tropical reef fish species from Florida and the U.S. Caribbean (Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands). We attempted to identify a useable set of life history parameters for each species that included lifespan, length at age, weight at length and maturity at length. Key aspects of the life history synthesis were development of: (a) a database that characterized study details including sampling region, biological and statistical methods, length range of sampled individuals, sample size, capture gears and sampling time frame; (b) reproducible procedural criteria for parameter identification for a given species; and (c) a reliability metric for each parameter type. Complete life history parameter sets were available for 46 species analysed. Of these, only 16 species had parameter sets meeting the highest standards for reliability, highlighting future research needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1196-1217
Number of pages22
JournalFish and Fisheries
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • data-limited fisheries
  • fish population dynamics
  • growth
  • lifespan
  • maturity
  • stock assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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