Nicole Besemer

Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Fall 2017


This project focused on aging a sub-sample of the lionfish population within Biscayne National Park and creating a Von-Bertalanffy growth curve. Researchers have struggled to keep up with the progression of the lionfish invasion, therefore demographic and ecological data are still lacking. Ages were obtained from transverse sagittal otolith sections sourced from fish collected as part of the ongoing Lionfish Response Plan (LRP) developed in 2012 by the National Park Service. Growth was examined and present patterns were identified for the entire lionfish population of Biscayne National Park, as well as for females and males separately. Sagittal otoliths (n = 175) indicated that lionfish were 1-6 yrs. old. The estimated parameters of the von Bertalanffy equations were K =0.32 and L∞ = 427 mm for the overall population. Females had values of K= 0.20 and L∞ = 466 mm and males had values of K=0.45 and L∞ = 395 mm. These parameters were not significantly different from the curve for the overall population. The AIC values supported use of the model where sex difference is demonstrated in to better represent this population. There has been no published aging work done on lionfish in the south Florida region and establishing an accurate and up to date growth curve for the population living in Biscayne National Park will increase our overall knowledge of these fish, facilitate comparisons with other invaded regions and help improve management efforts.


Department: MES

MPS Track: FMC

Location: Biscayne National Park

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