A multi-faceted approach for quantifying the estuarine–nearshore transition in the life cycle of the bull shark, Carcharhinus leucas

Werry, J.M., Lee, S.Y., Otway, N.M., Hu, Y., and Sumpton, W. (2011) A multi-faceted approach for quantifying the estuarine–nearshore transition in the life cycle of the bull shark, Carcharhinus leucas. Marine and Freshwater Research, 62 (12). pp. 1421-1431.

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Abstract

Understanding the ontogenetic habitat linkages of sharks is important for conservation and managing human interactions. We used acoustic telemetry, catch data, elemental and stable isotope signatures and dietary analyses to investigate ontogenetic habitat use in south-east Queensland, Australia, by the bull shark Carcharhinus leucas, a IUCN 'near-threatened' species that is implicated in many shark attacks on humans in urban estuaries. Sequential analyses for δ15N and δ13C of vertebrae from five adult C. leucas and laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICPMS) for elemental composition from 23 C. leucas, including a pregnant female, were also used to trace ontogenetic habitat dependence. Acoustic telemetry indicated large juvenile and subadult C. leucas remained in estuarine habitats. δ15N values across shark vertebrae showed an ontogenetic shift in diet with total length (TL), confirmed by stomach contents. LA-ICPMS data reflected the ontogenetic movements of C. leucas from natal habitats. Differences among adults were gender related. Shifts in habitat use by subadults were correlated with a sigmoidal δ13C relationship with TL. C. leucas have a multipartite, stage-specific dependency in their transition between habitats along the freshwater–estuarine–marine continuum, making them particularly susceptible to the habitat alteration that is occurring globally.

Item ID: 21842
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
ISSN: 1448-6059
Date Deposited: 08 May 2012 04:09
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0601 Biochemistry and Cell Biology > 060101 Analytical Biochemistry @ 30%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 20%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences @ 20%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960502 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960506 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Environments @ 30%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 2
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