Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biological Sciences (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Biological Sciences

Advisor 1

Jill A. Olin

Committee Member 1

Casey Huckins

Committee Member 2

Gordon Paterson


Knowledge of life-history characteristics and patterns of connectivity are important parameters to fisheries management, especially for species inhabiting hard to reach environments, such as the deep-sea. Golden Tilefish (Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps) are slow growing, long-lived, demersal species that exhibit a patchy distribution along the continental shelf-edge of the NW Atlantic Ocean. Golden Tilefish create burrows in the clay sediment and maintain high site fidelity. These characteristics suggest the possibility of localized subpopulations across the species’ distribution; an important consideration for the resilience of this species to fishing pressure. My objectives are (1) to estimate age, and model growth of fish captured from a fishery-independent survey and compare these estimates to assessments derived from fishery-dependent data, and (2) to investigate temporal and spatial patterns of habitat connectivity using otolith elemental signatures as natural tags that discriminate subpopulations. Age and growth estimates were consistent consistency with previous assessments and provided an unbiased analysis of the population that can be used for further monitoring. Analysis of elemental profiles indicated subtle spatial differences, suggesting the application for delineating subpopulations. Elemental profiles also varied between years and may represent differing environmental characteristics experienced by the individuals during their pelagic larval stage and subsequent settlement. My thesis contributes age, growth and population connectivity data that will aid in monitoring the stock and development of management decisions