Bomb radiocarbon dating of three important reef-fish species using Indo-Pacific 14C chronologies
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Demersal reef fishes of the Indo-Pacific are under increasing pressure as a fisheries resource, yet many of the important life history characteristics required for suitable management are poorly known. The three fish species, eightbar grouper (Hyporthodus octofasciatus), ruby snapper (Etelis carbunculus) and the spangled emperor (Lethrinus nebulosus), are important components of fisheries and ecosystems throughout the Indo-Pacific. Despite their importance, age and growth information is incomplete. Age has been estimated for E. carbunculus and L. nebulosus, but validated age beyond the first few years is lacking and for H. octofasciatus no age estimates exist. Bomb radiocarbon dating can provide age estimates that are independent of growth-zone counting, but only if appropriate reference 14C chronologies exist. In this study, a series of 14C records from hermatypic corals was assembled to provide a basis for bomb radiocarbon dating in the western Indo-Pacific region. Results provided (1) valid age estimates for comparison to age estimates from two facilities investigating growth-zones in otolith thin sections; (2) support for age estimation protocols using otolith thin sections; and (3) the information necessary for further refinement of age estimation procedures. Estimates of longevity from bomb radiocarbon dating agree with some prior studies: H. octofasciatus, E. carbunculus and L. nebulosus all being long-lived species with life spans of at least 43, 35 and 28 years respectively. © CSIRO 2011.
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