Variable response of coastal sharks to severe tropical storms: environmental cues and changes in space use

Udyawer, Vinay, Chin, Andrew, Knip, Danielle M., Simpfendorfer, Colin A., and Heupel, Michelle R. (2013) Variable response of coastal sharks to severe tropical storms: environmental cues and changes in space use. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 480. pp. 171-183.

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Acute disturbance events like tropical storms can have significant effects on coastal habitats and animals that utilise them. We examined environmental parameters as cues for flight behaviour based on movement data from 5 species of elasmobranch (Carcharhinus limbatus, C. tilstoni, C. melanopterus, C. sorrah and C. amboinensis) during 3 tropical storm events in 2 coastal bays on 2 continents (Cleveland Bay, Australia, and Terra Ceia Bay, USA). Individuals were monitored using passive acoustic telemetry before, during and after the storms. Short-term effects on movement and distribution were investigated in relation to environmental parameters (barometric pressure, wind speed and wave height) along with longer-term changes in size and location of activity spaces of individuals due to extreme weather events. Short-term flight behaviour was observed in 4 species, with C. melanopterus the only species showing no reaction to storm events. Change of activity space size and location varied within the 2 study sites, with significant changes in activity spaces only occurring in Terra Ceia Bay. Examination of environmental parameters as cues for flight behaviour showed that species had varying tolerances to environmental conditions during storm events. Flight behaviour was observed in juvenile individuals that had not experienced such conditions before, which may suggest that this behavioural response is innate.

Item ID: 27461
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1616-1599
Keywords: elasmobranch, behaviour, disturbance event, extreme weather, acoustic telemetry, flight response
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Funders: Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI), Australian Institute of Marine Science at James Cook University (AIMS@JCU), School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University (JCU)
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2013 09:41
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060201 Behavioural Ecology @ 40%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 60%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 30%
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