Maximum Intrinsic Rate of Population Increase in Sharks, Rays, and Chimaeras: The Importance of Survival to Maturity

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The maximum intrinsic rate of population increase rmax is a commonly estimated demographic parameter used in assessments of extinction risk. In teleosts, rmax can be calculated using an estimate of spawners per spawner, but for chondrichthyans, most studies have used annual reproductive output b instead. This is problematic as it effectively assumes all juveniles survive to maturity. Here, we propose an updated rmax equation that uses a simple mortality estimator which also accounts for survival to maturity: the reciprocal of average lifespan. For 94 chondrichthyans, we now estimate that rmax values are on average 10% lower than previously published. Our updated rmax estimates are lower than previously published for species that mature later relative to maximum age and those with high annual fecundity. The most extreme discrepancies in rmax values occur in species with low age at maturity and low annual reproductive output. Our results indicate that chondrichthyans that mature relatively later in life, and to a lesser extent those that are highly fecund, are less resilient to fishing than previously thought.
Supplementary material included as a separate file.Raw data available athttps://dx.doi. org/10.6084/m9.figshare.3207697.v1
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