Improving conservation planning for an endangered sawfish using data from acoustic telemetry

Simpfendorfer, Colin A., Wiley, Tonya R., and Yeiser, Beau G. (2010) Improving conservation planning for an endangered sawfish using data from acoustic telemetry. Biological Conservation, 143 (6). pp. 1460-1469.

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Understanding the movement and habitat use patterns of threatened species is essential to effective conservation planning. Modern tracking techniques such as active tracking and passive acoustic monitoring can be useful tools in elucidating this information for aquatic species. To aid in the development of conservation strategies for juvenile critically endangered smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata) their fine scale movements and habitat use in southwest Florida were studied using a combination of these techniques. Between 2002 and 2006 a total of 12 individuals were actively tracked for periods of up to 24 h to provide detailed habitat use and movement parameters (distance moved, speed, and linearity). Smaller individuals (<100 cm stretched total length (STL)) had the smallest home ranges, low linearity of movement and had a preference for very shallow mud banks. Juveniles >100 cm STL demonstrated larger home ranges, preference for shallow mud or and sand banks, and remained close to mangrove shorelines. Tide was found to be the main factor influencing movement on short time scales. Sawfish <150 cm STL spend the majority of their time in water <50 cm, while larger juveniles spend most of their time in water 50–100 cm deep. From 2003 to 2007 a total of 22 individuals were fitted with acoustic tags for long-term monitoring. Juveniles >130 cm had high levels of site fidelity for specific nursery areas for periods up to almost 3 months, but the smaller juveniles had relatively short site fidelity to specific locations. The use of a combination of tracking and monitoring techniques provided an expanded range of information by generating both short and long term data on habitat use. The data demonstrated that the conservation of shallow mud and sand banks, and mangrove shorelines will benefit the recovery of these endangered elasmobranchs.

Item ID: 15283
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-2917
Keywords: smalltooth sawfish; Pristis pectinata; habitat use; movement; home range
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2011 04:55
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0704 Fisheries Sciences > 070402 Aquatic Ecosystem Studies and Stock Assessment @ 100%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8302 Fisheries - Wild Caught > 830204 Wild Caught Fin Fish (excl. Tuna) @ 100%
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