Estuarine nursery areas provide a low-mortality environment for young bull sharks Carcharhinus leucas

Heupel, Michelle R., and Simpfendorfer, Colin A. (2011) Estuarine nursery areas provide a low-mortality environment for young bull sharks Carcharhinus leucas. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 433. pp. 237-244.

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Defining the role and impact of mortality within aquatic populations is often difficult. As a result, we still lack a clear understanding of the level of mortality in natural populations and the role habitat may play in survival. We used long-term acoustic monitoring of neonate bull sharks Carcharhinus leucas in a south Florida estuary to determine mortality rates within this population. Estimates of natural, fishing and total mortality varied among the years examined, but not significantly, suggesting similar survival among years with the majority of individuals (77%) surviving beyond 18 mo. Compared with other juvenile sharks, mortality rates of C. leucas were low. The results indicate that the use of mesohaline estuarine habitats by C. leucas may provide benefits that are not present in more marine habitats where their counterparts reside. Use of estuarine regions may be a successful ecological strategy for improving survival because of reduced predation and competition.

Item ID: 18939
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1616-1599
Keywords: ecological advantage, survival, estuary, bull shark, Carcharhinus leucas, river
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2011 03:34
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0704 Fisheries Sciences > 070402 Aquatic Ecosystem Studies and Stock Assessment @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 100%
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