Personality in Elasmobranchs with a Focus on Sharks: Early Evidence, Challenges, and Future Directions

  • J. S. Finger
  • F. Dhellemmes
  • T. L. Guttridge


Because of its impact on our understanding of evolution and ecology, animal personality has become an important area of research within behavioral ecology. Indeed, individual variation is no longer considered random noise but as a consistent phenomenon that impacts animal biology. However, research on animal personality and individual differences has largely focused on small-bodied species, which means that sharks and other elasmobranchs are dramatically underrepresented. The aim of this chapter is to illustrate, using existing studies, the opportunities and challenges involved in studying Elasmobranchs in captivity and in the field. While doing so, we discuss how this work informs the fields of animal personality and elasmobranch conservation. Although the lack of data necessitates a focus on sharks with only a mention of rays, we hope that this chapter will stimulate further research on personality in this underrepresented group.


Captivity Consistency Elasmobranchs Field studies Interindividual variation Movement ecology Personality Predation Top predator Sharks Slow growth rate 



We would like to thank Jennifer Vonk and Alexander Weiss for their comments throughout the writing process as well as Jens Krause and Samuel Gruber for their useful comments. We also thank William Hughes for sharing information and helping with part of this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. S. Finger
    • 1
    • 2
  • F. Dhellemmes
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • T. L. Guttridge
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Life SciencesHumboldt Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland FisheriesBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Bimini Biological Field Station FoundationBiminiBahamas

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