Movement patterns of juvenile sand tigers (Carcharias taurus) along the east coast of the USA
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- Kneebone, J., Chisholm, J. & Skomal, G. Mar Biol (2014) 161: 1149. doi:10.1007/s00227-014-2407-9
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To date, movement patterns of juvenile sand tigers (Carcharias taurus) along the east coast of the USA have been loosely defined. Given the magnitude of the purported decline in the sand tiger population in the western North Atlantic (WNA), characterization of the species’ movement patterns throughout this broad area is essential for the effective management and recovery of this population. Using passive acoustic telemetry, pop-up satellite archival transmitting tags, and conventional fishery-dependent tag/recapture data, seasonal movements of juvenile sand tigers (ages 0–2 years; <125 cm fork length) were monitored between Maine and Florida along the US east coast from 2007 to 2013. Collectively, tag data indicated that juvenile sand tigers undergo extensive seasonal coastal migrations moving between summer (June–October) habitat (Maine to Delaware Bay) and winter (December–April) habitat (Cape Hatteras to central Florida) during the spring (April–June) and fall/early winter (October–December). Juvenile sand tigers occurred in a wide range of temperatures (9.8–26.9 °C) throughout the year, but spent the majority of their time in water from 12 to 20 °C. Given the extensive movements and continuous utilization of relatively shallow (<80 m) nearshore waters exhibited by these relatively small individuals throughout their first years of life, it is imperative that precautions be taken to limit negative effects of anthropogenic interactions on this species (i.e., fisheries bycatch, coastal degradation) in an effort to rebuild and sustain the WNA population.