Shark nursery areas: concepts, definition, characterization and assumptions

Heupel, Michelle R., Carlson, John K., and Simpfendorfer, Colin A. (2007) Shark nursery areas: concepts, definition, characterization and assumptions. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 337. pp. 287-297.

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Abstract

The concept of elasmobranch species using nursery areas was introduced in the early 1900s and has been an accepted aspect of shark biology and behavior for several decades. Despite several descriptions of how shark species use nursery areas and what types of regions nurseries may be found in, no explicit definition of what constitutes a shark nursery area has been presented. Here we evaluate the assumptions of the current shark nursery paradigm in light of available data. Based on examination of these assumptions and available methods of quantifying and accurately describing shark nursery areas, a new more quantitative definition of shark nursery areas is proposed. This definition requires 3 criteria to be met for an area to be identified as a nursery: (1) sharks are more commonly encountered in the area than other areas; (2) sharks have a tendency to remain or return for extended periods; and (3) the area or habitat is repeatedly used across years. These criteria make the definition of shark nursery areas more compatible with those for other aquatic species. The improved definition of this concept will provide more valuable information for fisheries managers and shark biologists.

Item ID: 2614
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: shark; nursery area; habitat; definition
ISSN: 1616-1599
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2009 03:55
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069999 Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969999 Environment not elsewhere classified @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 103
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