Ageing Lab

In the Summer of 2019, the former Old Dominion University (ODU) fish ageing lab moved to the Marine Resource Commission offices at Ft. Monroe.  Ageing Lab personnel process hundreds of fish otolith and scale samples annually to help determine age and growth characteristics of fish important in Virginia saltwaters.  Dr. Liao, Lab Manager, is also a regular participant in Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) regional fisheries management processes and is a well known expert in fish ageing techniques.

The Ageing and Growth Lab was established at ODU in 1998, and has been funded by the federal Sport Fish Restoration Program (Wallop-Breaux) and the Virginia Saltwater Recreational License Fund through Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC).

Since 1998, the lab and VMRC have worked closely to collect and age more than 87,000 calcified structures (scales, otoliths, and opercula) of 14 marine finfish species collected from recreational and commercial fisheries in the Chesapeake Bay and Virginian waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

The lab devotes effort to increasing the efficiency of data collection and the quality of the age and growth data to best use state monies. The ageing and biological data are used by the VMRC, other states, and federal agencies for stock assessment and fisheries management to support sustainable fisheries in Virginia and along the east coast of the United States.

For additional information contact:

Hongsheng (Hank) Liao, PhD
Age and Growth Lab Manager
Biological Sampling Program
Fisheries Management Division
Virginia Marine Resources Commission
Office Phone: 757-247-2240
Lab Phone: 757-247-2023

Related Links:

When the Ageing Lab was located at ODU, the lab staff established a web site with many resources related to its work.  The ODU Ageing Lab web site is still available for an interim period at the the following web link:

The Ageing Lab web site will be migrated to the Commission's public web site in the upcoming months.  Recent annual reports for the Lab are provided below:

2018 Ageing and Growth Report
2017 Ageing and Growth Report
2016 Ageing and Growth Report
2015 Ageing and Growth Report
2014 Ageing and Growth Report

Dr. Liao has also made available some web based applications that can assist those interested in Ageing Lab activities:

Fish Age Estimator
Sample Size Estimator for Ageing
VMRC Ageing Lab Data Share App
%MSP/%fSPR/SPR Estimator
Sportfish Donation Data
Fish Growth Predictor

Please send your comments and suggestions on the apps to Dr. Hongsheng (Hank) Liao at

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