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Long-term variation of tropical rock lobster Panulirus ornatus (Decapoda, Palinuridae) growth in Torres Strait, Australia

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This analysis of all carapace length measurements collected between 1989 and 2009, during scientific surveys, describes the variation of tropical rock lobster, Panulirus ornatus, somatic growth in Torres Strait. Multiple models of carapace length frequency distributions were compared by maximum likelihood to determine which hypotheses were most supported by the data. The best model assumed sex and cohort-specific Von Bertalanffy’s parameters. These estimates are consistent with results derived from tagging data collected in the 1980s and provide new information on parameters’ uncertainty. In the past two decades, growth rates have fluctuated inter-annually without displaying any distinctive trend. Associated uncertainties are large, suggesting that sampling will need to be intensified in order to detect an effect of climate change.

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