Date of Award

12-2014

Degree Name

MS in Biological Sciences

Department

Biological Sciences

Advisor

Royden Nakamura

Abstract

Recent studies have shown environmental factors influence life history traits in fishes. Understanding intraspecific variability of life history characteristics and condition is necessary to determine local fisheries management strategies. Gopher rockfish, Sebastes carnatus, comprise 50% of the estimated shallow nearshore recreational rockfish catch in California, yet insufficient local data exist regarding life history traits and condition of this species. Our study locally defines growth parameters (maximum size and age), size (age) at reproductive maturity, and condition (hepatosomatic indices) for gopher rockfish in south central California. The growth parameter values of gopher rockfish from our study are similar to previously published research. However, our data also indicate that the current local gopher rockfish stock in south central California reaches reproductive maturity at a larger size and an older age when compared to gopher rockfish sampled throughout central California (primarily in Monterey) between 1977-1982. Furthermore, we examined spatial and temporal differences in life history information, within and outside of two south central California Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) established in 2007, between two time periods. Our data show that the size and longevity of fish has increased after the establishment of MPAs.

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