Age and Growth of Rhizoprionodon terraenovae and the Benefits of Age and Growth Studies on Conservation Policies

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Florida Southern College
Age and growth estimates for shark species may be determined through examination of annuli seen in the vertebral cartilage. Age estimates were made for seven male Atlantic sharpnose sharks (Rhizoprionodon terraenovae) caught in 2014 that ranged in length from 58.5 - 90.8 TL. Vertebrae were analyzed for clear band patterns in order to estimate shark ages and compared to ages calculated using the von Bertalanffy growth equation. A comparison of the calculated and observed age found that there was no significant relationship between the two. A better understanding of the rate of growth within cartilaginous fish species such as Rhizoprionodon terraenovae allow for an increased understanding on the potential impacts on population dynamics. As many shark species have an overall slow growth pattern, populations may be unable to recover from detrimental impacts such as overfishing or coastal development. Continuing age and growth studies with shark species will aid in conservation efforts by supporting shark fishing guidelines that would allow healthy population numbers to be maintained based on the growth rate of individuals.
Honors Thesis Spring 2017
Rhizoprionodon terraenovae, Conservation policies