Marine Biology

, Volume 145, Issue 1, pp 191–199 | Cite as

Movement patterns, depth preferences, and stomach temperatures of free-swimming juvenile mako sharks, Isurus oxyrinchus, in the Southern California Bight

  • C. A. Sepulveda
  • S. Kohin
  • C. Chan
  • R. Vetter
  • J. B. Graham
Research Article


Acoustic telemetry was used to track vertical and horizontal movement patterns and to monitor the stomach temperatures of seven juvenile shortfin mako sharks (Isurus oxyrinchus Rafinesque) in the Southern California Bight from July to November 2002. Makos (80–145 cm fork length, FL) were attracted to the tracking vessel, where they were fed a mackerel containing an acoustic transmitter that reported temperature and pressure. Tracks ranged from 6.8–45.4 h. Collectively, the mako sharks spent 80% of the track record at 0–12 m, 15% at 12–24 m, and 5% at depths >24 m. The average horizontal swimming speed was 2.3 km h−1 or 0.55 FLs s−1, and the greatest distance traveled was 145 km in 45.4 h. For the six tracks >21 h, there was a positive correlation between body size and maximum depth. Makos used more of the water column during daylight hours. Mean stomach temperature was 3.8±1.5°C above ambient, and body size was positively correlated with both maximum and average stomach temperature. Stomach content analyses of four makos captured at the end of tracking verified the occurrence of feeding events as indicated by changes in stomach temperature.


White Shark Feeding Event Pacific Saury Stomach Temperature Southern California Bight 
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This work was supported by the California Sea Grant, the William H. and Mattie Wattis Harris Foundation, and partially by the National Science Foundation (IBN 0091987). Support was also provided by the Academic Senate of the University of California, San Diego, Ms. J. Sleeper, and Mr. R. Magee. We thank those who helped with various aspects of this research, especially, J. Donley, H. Lee, D. Cartamil, D. Fuller, A. Jenkins, K. Schaefer, the captain and crew of the R.V. “David Starr Jordan”, and R. Cosgrove for his work on the graphics. We are also indebted to J. Steinitz for his hard work in the search for funding for this project and to D. Holts, S. Smith, M. Scott, H. Dewar, C. Lowe, and the National Marine Fisheries Service for support and for the loan of the tracking system components. Thanks to R. Rosenblatt, R. Shadwick, K. Dickson, J. Hunter, P. Hastings, F. Powell, R. Brill, and one anonymous reviewer for their constructive comments on draft versions of this manuscript. Special thanks are expressed to D. Bernal for the many conversations that provided the basis for this research and to K. Dickson and the California State University of Fullerton for the loan of the tracking vessel. All experiments were performed under the guidelines of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, of the University of California, San Diego (protocol S0008).

Supplementary material

Fig. S1 Isurus oxyrinchus Horizontal movements and relative stomach temperatures for seven acoustically tracked mako sharks in the SCB. Relative stomach temperature is color-coded warm (red) to cool (blue). Bathymetric contours given in intervals of 100 m.

Open image in new window

Movie clip An animation of the movements and relative stomach temperatures of two makos tracked in this study in relation to the bathymetry of the Southern California Bight (makos 6, 145 km in 45.4h and mako 3, 55 km in 21h). (79.9 mb) (avi, 81.5 MB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. A. Sepulveda
    • 1
  • S. Kohin
    • 2
  • C. Chan
    • 1
  • R. Vetter
    • 2
  • J. B. Graham
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine and Marine Biology Research DivisionScripps Institution of OceanographyLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Southwest Fisheries Science CenterNational Marine Fisheries ServiceLa JollaUSA

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