Predicting IUCN Extinction Risk Categories for the World's Data Deficient Groupers (Teleostei: Epinephelidae)

Osmar J. Luiz*, Rachael M. Woods, Elizabeth M P Madin, Joshua S. Madin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)
49 Downloads (Pure)


Groupers are highly susceptible to human-induced impacts, making them one of the most threatened fish families globally. Extinction risk assessments are important in endangered threatened species management, however the most comprehensive—the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List—cannot classify approximately one-third of grouper species due to data deficiency. We used an ordinal analytical approach to model relationships between species-level traits and extinction risk categories. We found that larger species and those with shallower maximum depths and smaller geographic ranges had higher extinction risk. Using our best fitting model, we classified data deficient grouper species into IUCN's extinction risk categories based on traits. Most of these species were predicted to be of least concern. However, 12% were predicted to be endangered or vulnerable, suggesting that they may be of conservation interest. Importantly, we provide a quantitative method for overcoming data gaps that can be applied to conservation of other species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-350
Number of pages9
JournalConservation Letters
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2016. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Body size
  • coral reef fish
  • depth refuge
  • Epinephelidae
  • fisheries
  • geographic range
  • Red List


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