Prof Caleb Gardner (contact)
Provide the context of the project that demonstrates the reason for doing the work and its relevance to IMAS research priorities. The statement should clearly illustrate the relationship between this proposal, work done previously and other work in progress. Bear in mind that this will be used in the description of the project on the Web.
Rock lobsters are a high value commercial species and managed with the use of population models that require a wide array of input data, including lobster growth and size at maturity.
Growth information currently used in this process comes from tag-recapture data. This has provided reasonable estimates of growth but a detailed analysis of growth remains an outstanding challenge and is likely to substantially improve population modelling. In turn this will enhance our ability to manage the fishery, for example though improved projections of the outcomes of different management measures, including size and catch limits.
The need for work on refining growth estimates of rock lobster has been identified as a research priority for Tasmania through the Crustacean Research Advisory Group. A PhD project on lobster growth not only allows refinement of the existing model but also allows biological processes to be explored. For example, what influence does temperature play in regional differences in growth? Are there aspects of temperature that are especially influential on growth, such as temperature at certain times of the biological cycle? And can climate change be expected to affect growth and thus production?