This study took advantage of a unique opportunity to collect large sample sizes of a coral reef fish species across a range of physical and biological features of the Hawaiian Archipelago to investigate variability in the demography of an invasive predatory coral reef fish, Cephalopholis argus (Family: Epinephelidae). Age-based demographic analyses were conducted at 10 locations in the main Hawaiian Islands and estimates of weight-at-length, size-at-age, and longevity were compared among locations. Each metric differed among locations, although patterns were not consistent across metrics. Length-weight relationships for C. argus differed among locations and individuals weighed less at a given length at Hilo, the southernmost location studied. Longevity differed among and within islands and was greater at locations on Maui and Hawaii compared to the more northern locations on Oahu and Kauai. Within-island growth patterns differed at Kauai, Oahu, and Hawaii. This work provides a case study of fundamental life history information from distant and/or spatially limited locations that are critical for developing robust fishery models. The differences observed both among and within islands indicate that variability may be driven by cross-scale mechanisms that need to be considered in fisheries stock assessments and ecosystem-based management.
Additional publication details
Demographic patterns in the peacock grouper (Cephalopholis argus), an introduced Hawaiian reef fish