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In January 2010, a massive giant sea bass (500 lbs, 227 kg; near maximum reported size of 557 lbs, 253 kg) was captured off Santa Cruz Island by commercial gill-netters. This specimen presented a unique opportunity to estimate and validate of the potential longevity of the largest nearshore teleost of the northeastern Pacific. A transverse section of the sagittal otolith produced consistent counts of 62 opaque annuli along two different axes of the ventral sulcus region, translating into an estimated birth year of 1948. This age estimate was supported by measurements of radiocarbon (14C) in the other sagittal otolith core (within the first year of growth), relative to Δ14C reference records used for bomb radiocarbon dating. Two otolith core samples produced Δ14C values that were classified as pre-bomb (prior to ∼1958–59), indicating a minimum lifespan of 51 years. It is likely that giant sea bass can live more than 60 or 70 years based on growth zone counts, but there is no evidence in the literature or this study to support longevity of 100 years.
Accurate estimates of Planktonic Larval Duration (PLD) have become critical to the modeling of larval dispersal and connectivity among ecological communities. Among those species where little information on larval duration is known are the spotted (Paralabrax maculatofasciatus) and barred (P. nebulifer) sand basses, two economically important species that have historically been the focus of marine recreational fisheries off southern California. PLD was determined by a count of the daily growth rings from the otolith core to the settlement check and age from the core to the otolith margin. Size at settlement was estimated by the size of the otolith from its core to the settlement mark based on the otolith size to body size relationship. Based on these significant relationships, mean size at settlement of our specimens was calculated to be 10.2 ± 1.6 mmSL for spotted sand bass and 9.1 ± 1.1 mmSL for barred sand bass. Mean PLD was 32.8 ± 2.2 days with a range from 28 to 37 days for spotted sand bass and 25.8 ± 2.2 days (range 21–30) for barred sand bass. Growth rates for the YOY of each species estimated by calculating the length-to-age relationships were 1.13 mm/day for spotted sand bass and 1.28 mm/day for barred sand bass. PLDs of approximately one lunar month and growth rates of about 1 mm/d seem to be common in those summer spawning fishes from San Diegan Province (warm temperate).