Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 101, Issue 5, pp 761–773 | Cite as

In situ swimming behaviors and oxygen consumption rates of juvenile lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris)

  • Ian A. Bouyoucos
  • Cory D. Suski
  • John W. Mandelman
  • Edward J. Brooks


Knowing how often animals engage in different behaviors and their energetic costs may explain why animals behave the way they do in the wild. This study sought to investigate the relationship between the frequency of various swimming behaviors and their associated energetic costs (oxygen consumption rates) in situ for juvenile lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris). Behaviors were identified for captive animals and remotely observed for animals in the wild with accelerometers, and oxygen consumption rates of behaviors were estimated using acceleration-calibrated relationships. Lemon sharks rested infrequently (4.3% of deployment), and the occurrence of active swimming behaviors was inversely related to their respective oxygen consumption rates. Furthermore, time of day and tide state influenced when lemon sharks exhibited active swimming behaviors – but not resting – such that sharks were most active during the day on flooding tides. Oxygen consumption rates also differed across and within different behaviors with time of day and tide state, although mean oxygen consumption rates were highest on daytime flooding tides and uniformly reduced across all other diel and tide combinations. Despite variation in oxygen consumption rates, however, lemon shark activity occurred at 32.3–35.6% of their aerobic metabolic scope. These data do not provide a clear oxygen consumption basis for swimming behaviors observed in situ, which may have been masked by potentially stronger ecological drivers (e.g., predator-prey dynamics). However, these data are relevant to linking behavioral modifications to changes in energy use that shows much promise for addressing conservation issues in fishes.


Accelerometry Biologging Elasmobranch Metabolism Respirometry Tailbeat frequency 



This work was supported by an anonymous research gift to E.J. Brooks and J.W. Mandelman and from the Cape Eleuthera Foundation. The authors would like to thank Shark Research and Conservation Program staff and interns Cameron Raguse, Kristin Treat, Maggie Winchester, Madeleine Ankheyli, Christian Daniell, Maxwell Marsh, Amanda Billotti, Christina Grossi, and Molly Brigham for their invaluable help in the field and laboratory. We also would like to thank two anonymous reviewers, whose input greatly improved the quality of this manuscript. I.A. Bouyoucos was supported through an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship.

Compliance with ethical standards

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. This study was conducted in accordance with University of Illinois Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee protocol #14163, and permits MAF/FIS/17, MAF/FIS/34 and Form 20A, Regulation 36D (3) issued by the Bahamian Department of Marines Resources, permitting fishing, possession, and exportation of sharks or shark parts.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef StudiesJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Shark Research and Conservation ProgramCape Eleuthera InstituteEleutheraBahamas
  3. 3.Department of Natural Resources and Environmental SciencesUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  4. 4.Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean LifeNew England AquariumBostonUSA

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