Age and Growth Section

Updated: Monday February 19th, 2018
February 19th, 2018 IFOP


Conduct studies of age determination and growth of species, catch age structure and identification of population units, all based on the use of hard structures of exploited marine species.

Research Area

The Age and Growth Section of the Fisheries Development Institute, focuses its actions in determining the age of fish, using high-end technologies and adding fundamental value to the nations fishery resources management. Recent research areas and their impact are:

Macro-ring Age:

Executed annually on fisheries resources of major economic importance. By studying this, it is expected to:

1 Meet the demand for knowledge of public value on the structure of population ages.

2 Validate age determination performed on hard structures according to the research´s economic support.

3 Generate a technical support.

4 Provide a time series.

5 Contribute to stock assessments built upon stable criteria.

6 To know the longevity of the species.

7 To know the changes in age at maturity.

Study of growth parameters:

Sporadic studies are conducted on fisheries resources. Through its research we expect:

1 To meet the demand for knowledge of public value in terms of growth parameters.

2 Knowing the species growth rate.

3 To know the resources life-history and its change over time.

Study of chemical components in hard structures:

Analysis of chemical components by international contracts. With this research we expect to:

1 Know routes of migration: There´s a recent project between IFOP and other international institutions, in which different topics are studied in addition to otoliths.

2 Validate age-determination by macro-rings, generating technical support.

3 Study place of birth. Developing topic.

Morphological studies of otoliths:

This work is based on international mackerel and it is under development. It is also carried out in different thesis topics. Through this scientific work we expected to:

1 Provide a background for stock identification.

Food Chain Research

It is based on an emerging research program carried out by the Age and Growth section of IFOP. Pilot samples have been developed in forms of interest models, without specific financing. Through this research we expect to:

  1. Have a diet background in all of the species studied.
  2. Have a background on the species main predators.

Archaeological Research:

Service provided for Professionals to characterize findings. Modules of interest have been developed without specific funding. Through this research we expect to:

  1. know the life history of studied communities

Study of environmental variables through the history contained in hard structures:

Informative way of preparing lines of development expected to:

1 Know the time series and the history of environmental variables in which aquatic species are immersed.


Our team consists of four researchers, trained in the areas of engineering and biology with vast experience in sclerochronology. Plus twelve highly qualified technicians.

José Francisco Cerna Troncoso (Head of Section)

BA in Biological Sciences and a Master´s Degree in Fisheries Science. Has focused his work on the analysis and validation of age and growth of exploited marine resources, temporary and space changes in individual growth rates and their relationship with other life history features. Otolith morphometric analysis as a tool to identify population units.

Rudelinda Bravo

Marine Technician (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile). Rudelinda´s vast experience in our lab, has allowed her to perfect her studies of various species. She works as a Technologist and researches Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides).

Luis Cid

Marine Technician (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile), serves as a Technologists at IFOP´s Age and Growth Section. He has been part of the orange roughy research program at the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research NIWA in New Zealand. He has also studied various resources and hard structures. Currently devoted to study swordfish (Xiphias gladius) age in both macro and microring. In the present, his research is focused on otoliths of demersal kingclip (Genypterus blacodes).

Hector Hidalgo

Fisheries Management Implementation Engineer (Universidad de Concepción) and Marine Technician (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile), works as a Technologist, specialized research in hoki (Macruronus magellanicus), southern blue whiting (Micromesistius australis), jack mackerel (Trachurus murphy) and Patagonia Toothfish (Scomber japonicus).

Karen Hunt

Biologist by profession and specialized in Environment (Universidad de Chile). Karen serves as a Technologist in our laboratory. Her years of experience have led her to specialize in the study of southern hake (Merluccius australis) and southern blue whiting (Merluccius australis).


Amalia López

Fisheries Technician (Instituto Prodat Iquique). Her field of development focuses on pelagic resources, specifically anchovy (Engraulis ringens), common sardine (Stangomera bentincki) and Fuegian sardine (Spattus fueguensis).

Cecilia Machuca

Marine Technician (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile), Cecilia has developed an intense work in our laboratory as a Technologist. Her current area of research is anchovy (Engraulis ringens).

María Miranda

Biologist from University of Guayaquil. She has recently been integrated to our lab´s age-species research program.  As a Technologist her work focuses on researching southern blue whiting (Micromesistius australis).

Lisandro Muñoz

Marine Technician (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile), develops work as a Technologist in our section. Lisandro has nurtured his skills by participating in an internship at the Otoliths Research Laboratory Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Canada. He has studied various resources in both pelagic and demersal fisheries. Currently develops applications for otolith morphometry study. He also participates on present studies of age in southern hake (Merluccius australis) and jack mackerel (Trachurus murphy).

Vilma Ojeda Cerda

Fisheries Engineer and Master´s candidate in Aquatic Resources Management (major in fisheries management and aquaculture), has focused her studies in age, growth, morphology, structure and life history parameters of aquatic resources. Laboratory work on quality management and accredited management system ISO 17025 for Age and Growth Laboratory, coaching of young professionals in the area of age estimation in fish and shellfish.