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Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 101, Issue 7, pp 1097–1104 | Cite as

Fine-scale movement and activity patterns of Caribbean reef sharks (Carcharhinus perezi) in the Bahamas

  • Oliver N. Shipley
  • Jacob W. Brownscombe
  • Andy J. Danylchuk
  • Steven J. Cooke
  • Owen R. O’Shea
  • Edward J. Brooks
Article

Abstract

Knowledge of the spatial ecology and movement of animals contributes to our understanding of intra- and inter-specific interactions and ecosystem dynamics, and can inform conservation actions. Here we assessed the space use and activity levels of a marine predator, the Caribbean reef shark (Carcharhinus perezi), in coastal regions of Eleuthera, The Bahamas over a 60-day period using acoustic telemetry. Of the 14 adult sharks (eight males, six females) tagged with acoustic transmitters (equipped with accelerometer sensor), nine were detected in a 14 km2 gridded receiver array. Male sharks were significantly less likely to be detected over time relative to females. Given post-release survival is typically high in C. perezi, this finding may indicate that males have larger home ranges and may exhibit lower site fidelity compared to females. Patterns of space use indicated C. perezi primarily occupied the outer reef shelf and were rarely detected on the interior of the reef. Shark activity levels (inferred from acceleration profiles) were highest in close proximity to the reef shelf. Our findings indicate C. perezi individuals frequently occupy deeper water habitats, but make forays into reef shelf habitats where high activity levels are likely related to foraging.

Keywords

Elasmobranch Habitat use Conservation Accelerometer Biologging Biotelemetry 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This project was funded by the Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF-2009-94). The authors would like to acknowledge the Cape Eleuthera Foundation for providing project funding, and students and staff of the Cape Eleuthera Institute and Island School for invaluable field support. Permission to capture sharks within the Bahamian Shark Sanctuary was established in accordance with Bahamian Department of Marine Resources Form 20A, Regulation 36D (3), permitting fishing, possession, and exportation of sharks or shark parts (permits MAF/FIS/17 and MAF/FIS/34 issued to the Cape Eleuthera Institute). Animal sampling protocols were aligned with The UK Home Office Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act regulations, and guidelines of the Association for the study of Animal Behaviour, and Animal Behaviour Society (Rollin and Kessel 1998).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Marine and Atmospheric SciencesStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA
  2. 2.Shark Research and Conservation Program, The Cape Eleuthera InstituteEleutheraBahamas
  3. 3.Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Laboratory, Department of BiologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  4. 4.Department of Environmental ConservationUniversity of Massachusetts AmherstAmherstUSA

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