Age and growth characteristics of the Starry Skate in central CaliforniaPublished in August 2013
Age and growth characteristics of the Starry Skate, Raja stellulata, with a description of life history and habitat trends of the central California, U.S.A., skate assemblage
Kelsey C. James, David A. Ebert, Lisa J. Natanson, Gregor M. Cailliet
Skates are prevalent in fisheries worldwide, but rarely are they identified to species. This is of conservation and management concern since skates exhibit a broad range of life history characteristics. The present study investigated the age and growth of the Starry Skate, Raja stellulata, and compared it to other regional skates inhabiting the U.S. West Coast. Age and growth parameters were determined using two vertebral preparation techniques: gross sectioning and histological sectioning. Gross section age estimates ranged from zero to 11 years and growth was described by the two parameter von Bertalanffy growth function (2 VBGF; L ∞ = 915 mm total length (TL) and k = 0.13 year-1; n = 189). Histological section age estimates ranged from zero to 15 years and growth was also described by the 2 VBGF (L ∞ = 1092 mm TL, k = 0.06 year-1; n = 68). Histological section results reflect a more conservative life history, specifically a lower von Bertalanffy growth coefficient, but had slightly biased results and a smaller sample size than the gross section results. An age and depth trend was found within the central California skate assemblage, in which habitat depth and maximum age were positively correlated.
Environmental Biology of Fishes, DOI 10.1007/s10641-013-0164-0