Marine Biology

, Volume 161, Issue 11, pp 2645–2658 | Cite as

Tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) movement patterns and habitat use determined by satellite tagging in eastern Australian waters

  • Bonnie J. HolmesEmail author
  • Julian G. Pepperell
  • Shane P. Griffiths
  • Fabrice R. A. Jaine
  • Ian R. Tibbetts
  • Mike B. Bennett
Original Paper


Partial migration is considered ubiquitous among vertebrates, but little is known about the movements of oceanodromous apex predators such as sharks, particularly at their range extents. PAT-Mk10 and SPOT5 electronic tags were used to investigate tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) spatial dynamics, site fidelity and habitat use off eastern Australia between April 2007 and May 2013. Of the 18 tags deployed, 15 recorded information on depth and/or temperature, and horizontal movements. Tracking times ranged between four and 408 days, with two recovered pop-up archival tags allowing 63 days of high-resolution archived data to be analysed. Overall mean proportions of time-at-depth revealed that G. cuvier spent the majority of time-at-depths of <20 m, but undertook dives as deep as 920 m. Tagged sharks occupied ambient water temperatures from 29.5 °C at the surface to 5.9 °C at depth. Deep dives (>500 m) occurred mostly around dawn and dusk, but no definitive daily dive patterns were observed. Horizontal movements were characterised by combinations of resident and transient behaviour that coincided with seasonal changes in water temperature. While the majority of movement activity was focused around continental slope waters, large-scale migration was evident with one individual moving from offshore Sydney, Australia, to New Caledonia (c. 1,800 km) in 48 days. Periods of tiger shark residency outside of Australia’s fisheries management zones highlight the potential vulnerability of the species to unregulated fisheries and the importance of cross-jurisdictional arrangements for species’ management and conservation.


Unscented Kalman Filter Catch Rate Diving Behaviour Tiger Shark Partial Migration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We wish to acknowledge the contribution of those who donated their time, effort and funds in support of the tagging operations in this study, especially Greg Barea, Paddy Dimond, Mark Doohan, Tony Ham, Wayne Sumpton, Jeff Krause, Matt Ghosn, David Toohey, Jamie Ward, Anthony Sawa, Mark Cawthray, Michael Swindells, and Drs. Adrian Gutteridge, Lindsay Marshall and Jonathan Werry. We also give our deepest gratitude to the numerous volunteers that helped with fieldwork, especially Aaron Davison and Simon Harmon. Thanks also to Tim Lam, Tu Nguyen, Robert Campbell and Nadia Engstrom for help with tag analysis, mapping and commercial fishing information. We would like to acknowledge the research sponsors Fellowship Fund Incorporated, F.G. Wilson Pty. Ltd., RipCom Telecommunications, Elanora State School, Mohammed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, Discovery Channel, Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, Fisheries Queensland, New South Wales Recreational Fishing Trust and the New South Wales Game Fishing Association. In-kind support was gratefully received from the Moreton Bay Research Station, Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort and the Fox Research Station.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bonnie J. Holmes
    • 1
    Email author
  • Julian G. Pepperell
    • 2
  • Shane P. Griffiths
    • 3
  • Fabrice R. A. Jaine
    • 4
    • 5
  • Ian R. Tibbetts
    • 6
  • Mike B. Bennett
    • 7
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia
  2. 2.Pepperell Research and Consulting Pty LtdNoosaville BCAustralia
  3. 3.CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere FlagshipBrisbaneAustralia
  4. 4.Biophysical Oceanography Group, School of Geography, Planning and Environmental ManagementThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia
  5. 5.Manta Ray and Whale Shark Research CentreMarine Megafauna FoundationTofo BeachMozambique
  6. 6.School of Biological SciencesThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia
  7. 7.School of Biomedical SciencesThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia

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