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MEPS
Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 511:209-221 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10919

Experimental removal of the invasive peacock hind (roi) Cephalopholis argus, in Puakō, Hawai‘i: methods for assessing and managing marine invasive species

Jonatha Giddens1,*, Alan M. Friedlander1, Eric Conklin2, Chad Wiggins2, Kostantinos Stamoulis1, Mary K. Donovan1

1Fisheries Ecology Research Lab, Department of Biology, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, 2538 McCarthy Mall, Edmonson Hall 216, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96822, USA
2The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i, 23 Nu‘uanu Avenue, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96817, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Invasive species are a growing concern for marine biodiversity, particularly in Hawai‘i with its large proportion of endemic species. This research focused on the feasibility of removing the introduced predatory peacock grouper Cephalopholis argus, locally known as roi, as a management tool for Hawaiian coral reef ecosystem restoration. The objectives of this study were to investigate the dynamics of C. argus on 1.3 hectares (ha) of coral reef at Puakō, Hawai‘i, and to (1) compare population density estimate methods in order to accurately evaluate abundance, (2) estimate population mortality and catchability rates, and (3) quantify the re-colonization rates by mapping distribution and movements in response to a depletion experiment. The number of individuals removed during a fish-down experiment provided a direct measure of initial population abundance (20.2 roi ha-1). A Leslie depletion model yielded the most accurate assessment of initial density (-15.8% error) compared to belt transects (+75.7% error) and tow-board census (-70.2% error). Estimates of total mortality were low (0.12 to 0.14), and fishing mortality ranged from negligible to 8.0% yr-1 in west Hawai‘i. Roi movement was monitored through a mark and re-capture program. Tagged individuals traveled 50 to 150 m from the periphery toward the center of the removal area (1 roi every 1 to 2 mo). This study engaged the local Hawaiian fishing community in assessing and managing marine invasive fish species, quantified the feasibility of roi removal as an ecosystem management tool, and provides evidence for effective roi population control through spear-fishing methods at the local (1.3 ha) patch-reef scale.


KEY WORDS: Invasive species · Cephalopholis argus · Hawaii · Mortality rate · Leslie depletion · Predator removal · Marine introduction · Grouper · Ecosystem restoration


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Cite this article as: Giddens J, Friedlander AM, Conklin E, Wiggins C, Stamoulis K, Donovan MK (2014) Experimental removal of the invasive peacock hind (roi) Cephalopholis argus, in Puakō, Hawai‘i: methods for assessing and managing marine invasive species. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 511:209-221. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10919

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